Rugby Championship

Boks, Wallabies draw in Perth thriller

2017-09-09 13:54
Sekope Kepu of the Wallabies is tackled (Getty)

Cape Town - The Springboks and the Wallabies played out to a 23-23 draw in a  Rugby Championship thriller in Perth on Saturday.

The Boks, poor in the first half, were made to come back from 20-10 down and at one stage had a 23-20 lead. 

The visitors sprung into action in the second half, but it was far from the complete performance for coach Allister Coetzee's men as errors featured throughout. 

There were two converted tries and three penalties for each side.

The opening 20 minutes were expected to be massive as Bok captain Eben Etzebeth, on Friday, expressed his side's desire to "smash" the Wallabies off the park.

Instead, the first quarter was cagey.

Elton Jantjies and Bernard Foley exchanged early penalties, but the minutes that followed were error-ridden from a Springbok perspective. 

One moment were hooker Malcolm Marx threw a short lineout to nobody was perfectly indicative of how disjointed the Boks were in the early stages. 

Then, just past the 20 minute mark, the Boks had their breakthrough. 

Raymond Rhule had kicked ahead and was making the chase down the right flank. 

Referee Glenn Jackson looked set to give the Aussies a penalty for an obstruction from Rhule, but he ended up letting it go as Jesse Kriel scored dived over in the right corner. 

Jantjies' conversion from wide right was quality, and the Boks had a 10-3 lead. 

But the visitors did not have the composure to consolidate, and they gifted possession back to Wallabies from the restart. 

The result was Kurtley Beale finishing off a move that leveled matters and brought the Boks crashing back down to earth. 

Jantjies missed a simple penalty soon after, and the sides were locked at 10-10 as half-time approached and the errors continued. 

A second Foley penalty on the stroke of half-time ensured that the Wallabies took a 13-10 lead into the break, and what was one of the most underwhelming periods of Rugby Championship so far this season thankfully came to an end. 

The game needed some spark in the second half, and while it did come, it was not from the Boks. 

More poor discipline from the South Africans allowed the Wallabies the chance to set up a 5m lineout and while the Boks initially kept the rolling maul at bay, the second charge from the Wallabies absolutely steamrolled the visitors as hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau scored. 

Foley's conversion gave the hosts a 20-10 lead, and it began to look a tall order for the Boks. 

Jan Serfontein was then stopped just short of the line after a Siya Kolisi-inspired counter-attack, and from the resulting period of dominance Jantjies was able to close the gap to 20-13 with a penalty as the Boks enjoyed their best phase of the game. 

As the hour mark approached, Etzebeth then turned down an opportunity for another three points, opting instead to set up an attacking lineout. 

The result was a dominant Springbok rolling maul that saw Malcolm Marx crash over. 

Jantjies slotted the conversion from out left, and the sides were deadlocked once more at 20-20.

It set up an intriguing final quarter as the tense atmosphere of those opening 20 minutes returned. 

As the match progressed, it was the Boks who began to dominate. 

A huge scrum on the Aussie 5m line saw a penalty awarded to the Springboks right in front of the Australian posts. 

Jantjies knocked it over, and the Boks hit the front once more with a 23-20 lead. 

Again, though, they could not consolidate and soon after the restart they gave away another penalty as Foley made it 23-23. 

Jantjies went for the drop goal after the hooter but was charged down, and even then the Boks looked like they could pull off a win they recovered the ball. 

It was not to be, though.

The result means that the Boks consolidate second place on the Rugby Championship table and they are npow three points behind the All Blacks, who they meet next weekend.

Scorers:

Australia

Tries: Kurtley Beale, Tatafu Polota-Nau

Conversions: Bernard Foley (2)

Penalties: Foley (3)

SA

Tries: Jesse Kriel, Malcolm Marx

Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2)

Penalties: Jantjies (3)

Teams:

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

Read more on:    springboks  |  wallabies  |  rugby championship  |  rugby
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