Boks have fighting chance
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Springboks gave themselves a fighting chance of winning the Rugby Championship with a record winning 20-point margin over the Wallabies at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
As it happened: Boks v Wallabies
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While South Africa could not secure a four-try bonus point - to give them the extra point advantage going into next week’s final match against the All Blacks in Johannesburg - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers emphasised the team needed to look beyond the bonus point.
“Today, the challenge was not the scoreboard but the way we played. We're still not happy with areas of our game,” De Villiers said.
“But we beat Australia by 20 points, and if you gave that to us at the beginning of the year, we definitely would have taken it.
“We are still in the competition. We have an opportunity now and that is a great thing.”
The All Blacks retained a five-point lead on the Rugby Championship log following a 33-15 victory over Argentina in La Plata on Saturday.
The competition could reach an exciting climax with the Boks needing to beat the New Zealanders with five points and prevent the visitors from earning a bonus point of their own.
The All Blacks beat the South Africans 29-15 in their previous encounter which was marred by controversial refereeing by Frenchman Romain Poite.
De Villiers said the team was looking forward to the opportunity to once again test themselves against the best team in the world with a chance of winning the Rugby Championship title.
“We’ve won four out of five games in the Rugby Championship and now it comes down to one more game and we would like to win that one as well,” he said.
“Next week is a totally different ball game, against a quality side - the best team in the world. They're the World Cup holders and we’ve got the opportunity to play them at Ellis Park in front of a sold-out crowd. What else can we ask for?
“We want to test ourselves against the best. We’ve played against one of the quality sides in world rugby tonight and managed to get the win.”
While the Springboks played down the fact that they have not secured the much-needed bonus point against Australia, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said the hosts showed their intent from the outset.
“When they didn’t go for the penalty early on, it sort of indicated their intent. So from that point on, we were going to keep turning around,” McKenzie said after the match.
“They were obviously going for the four tries and made it clear in the first 30 seconds or so.”
The Springboks were effective in pinning the Wallabies in their half and depriving the tourists of ball possession, particularly in the first half of the match.
The hosts secured a 20-point lead going into the half-time break, following two tries in the 13th and 15th minutes by Adriaan Strauss and Zane Kirchner, respectively.
In the second half, Willie le Roux scored the only points for the Boks when he went over eight minutes before time.