Rugby Championship

Coach lauds Wallaby ticker

2014-09-06 17:24
Ewen McKenzie (Gallo Images)

Perth - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie praised his team's character after they rebounded from a hammering by New Zealand to beat South Africa in the Rugby Championship on Saturday, even if they needed a late try to do it.

As it happened: Australia v SA

The Wallabies were destroyed 51-20 by the All Blacks in Auckland a fortnight ago and a third straight loss to the Springboks since McKenzie took charge would have put the coach and team under huge pressure a year out from the World Cup.

Trailing 23-17 with two minutes to go, though, they produced their best move of the match despite the greasy conditions to put winger Rob Horne in for his fourth Test try and allow Bernard Foley to kick the match-winning conversion.

"We knew it was going to be a game of character, coming from the loss in Auckland, we knew we needed to show some character," McKenzie told Fox TV.

"While it wasn't an extravagant scoreboard, a win against South Africa is no easy thing and to come from behind is even better."

After reshuffling his backline in the wake of the Eden Park debacle, McKenzie would have been delighted with the early returns when fullback Israel Folau scored a try inside the first two minutes.

A series of sloppy penalties allowed the Springboks back into the game, however, and the home side were trailing 14-11 at the break.

"We were happy with the first half but came out in the second half and promptly gave the ball away five or six times so ended up playing the rest of the game in front of our posts," McKenzie added.

"The scoreboard was getting away from us. We did well to get back into it and made the most of it with that try at the end."

The victory gave McKenzie his first win against a team in the top four of the world rankings after four defeats and a draw against New Zealand, two defeats to the Springboks and a loss to England on the last November tour.

The match probably turned on Irish referee George Clancy's decision to yellow card South Africa wing Bryan Habana for a high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper in the 65th minute.



15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Nic White, 23 Kurtley Beale

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Damian de Allende

Read more on:    springboks  |  rugby championship  |  rugby

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