Tri-Nations

Wallabies snatch win from Boks

2011-08-13 18:51
James O'Connor (Gallo)
Durban - A painful Tri-Nations campaign for South Africa continued on Saturday at Kings Park as they surrendered a six-point half-time lead and lost 14-9 to Australia.

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It was the third southern hemisphere championship reverse on the trot for the Springboks and while heavy losses in Australia and New Zealand were blamed on leaving 21 mainly senior stars at home, many returned to action for this match.

South Africa deservedly built a six-point half-time advantage but could not maintain the momentum and lost some crucial breakdowns while their scrum came under pressure as the game progressed.

The Springboks have one more Test - against the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth next Saturday - before launching their Rugby World Cup title defence against Wales in Wellington next month.

South Africa fielded a near full strength team boasting a world-record 850 caps and were desperate to avenge a humiliating 39-20 loss in Sydney last month with a virtual 'B' team.

The first scoring chance in cool, windy conditions fell to the Springboks after three minutes when Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom committed a dangerous tackle and France-based fullback Francois Steyn made no mistake from 45 metres.

Australia hit back and looked set to score in the left corner until South Africa outside centre Jaque Fourie intercepted a James O'Connor pass and the danger was eventually averted.

Much attention was on Springbok flyhalf Butch James, making his first start in the green and gold jersey for three years after a spell playing for Bath in England, and he calmly slotted his first penalty kick between the posts on 16 minutes after the visitors infringed at a scrum.

But his second penalty shot at goal four minutes later drifted wide of the right post after the ball fell over and the 32-year-old seemed anxious as he went through his routine a second time.

Bok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez was impressive on his return after a 21-month injury-induced absence and when Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper failed to grasp a kick ahead, Fourie touched down only for the TMO to disallow the try for a knock-on.

Chances were few in a close first half fought predominantly between the 22-metre lines and James scuffed a drop kick attempt, O'Connor hooked his first penalty shot and Steyn was short with an ambitious drop goal effort.

Australia had a great opening 10 minutes into the second half that yielded an O'Connor penalty and a Pat McCabe try for an 8-6 advantage that stunned the home supporters.

O'Connor planted his penalty kick between the posts from close range and almost in front of the posts and he also featured in the slick handling that ended with inside centre McCabe having time and space to dot down near the corner flag.

South Africa were back in front by the hour mark thanks to a close-range penalty kick from James only for Australia to edge ahead again at 11-9 on 66 minutes as O'Connor kicked his second penalty.

The mood of the crowd matched the dark rain-bearing clouds and another successful O'Connor penalty six minutes from full-time after a superb Wallabies scrum forced South Africa into conceding a penalty stretched the lead to five points.


Teams

South Africa:

15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Morne Steyn, 22 Gio Aplon

Australia:
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (captain), 5 James Horwill, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.

Substitutes: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Maafu, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Radike Samo, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Anthony Faingaa

Read more on:    tri-nations  |  james o'connor  |  butch james  |  durban
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