Rugby Championship

Wallabies rue wasted chances

2014-09-07 11:43
Kurtley Beale and Ewen McKenzie (Getty Images)

Perth - Coach Ewen McKenzie said Sunday the Wallabies had made it tough on themselves after squeezing home 24-23 over the Springboks with a winning converted try minutes from time in Perth.

Winger Rob Horne finished off a slick backline move featuring replacement Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau to score and leave fly-half Bernard Foley to kick the pressure conversion to seal victory by a point.

It was the Wallabies' first win in the Rugby Championship on Saturday after a draw and a heavy loss to the All Blacks and McKenzie's first as coach over South Africa.

The Wallabies capitalised on a controversial yellow card to Springboks winger Bryan Habana playing in his 100th Test to come from 23-14 down for their first win in their last four meetings with South Africa.

It was a rejuvenating two tries-to-one win for the Wallabies coming after their ignominious 51-20 mauling by New Zealand in Auckland a fortnight ago.

But McKenzie said he is looking for a more polished performance from his side after several try-scoring opportunities went begging.

They included Adam Ashley-Cooper spilling a grubber kick over the try-line in the first half, and replacement prop Pek Cowan being denied his first Test try after Rob Simmons was penalised for obstruction.

"There were a couple of really good opportunities which we didn't finish off," McKenzie told reporters.

"We got over the line a couple of times, it was frustrating not to get the points.

"The scoreboard was a little bit daunting with 15 minutes to go."

McKenzie lamented that his side also handed South Africa some soft opportunities to relieve the pressure on them by conceding penalties.

"There were a couple of soft moments where we piggy-backed them out of their territory -- we had them down there pinned and let them off the hook," McKenzie said.

"We did all right in the first half against the wind, but in the second half we managed to find different ways to turn the ball over and keep ourselves pinned down.

"We got an outcome, which is great, but I like to be consistent so we need to win again next week."

The Wallabies face dogged Argentina on the Gold Coast next weekend after the winless Pumas went down 28-9 to the All Blacks in Napier on Saturday.

The Australians could be boosted by the availability of explosive Brumbies winger Henry Speight, whose four-year wait to become eligible as a Wallaby officially ends this week.

But the Fijian-born Speight may be in doubt with a hamstring strain.

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