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'Not worthy enough for the Springboks': Australia record back-to-back victories over South Africa

·4-min read
Excellent Australia record back-to-back Rugby Championship victories over limited South Africa - SHUTTERSTOCK
Excellent Australia record back-to-back Rugby Championship victories over limited South Africa - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Australia 30 South Africa 17

Australia breathed life into their Rugby Championship campaign with a bonus-point 30-17 win over South Africa on Saturday to puncture the world champions' aura for the second time in a week.

Having upset the Springboks 28-26 on the Gold Coast on Sunday with a Quade Cooper penalty after the siren, the Wallabies' running game shone in the Lang Park twilight as centre Len Ikitau and wing Marika Koroibete each scored two tries.

Koroibete's second put the Australians 13 points up with 12 minutes left and they defended brilliantly to the finish, winning two turnovers in front of their posts.

South Africa managed one try, through centre Lukhanyo Am shortly after half-time, but drew two yellow cards in a flat performance before they head into back-to-back Tests against New Zealand.

"I’m really proud of our guys because we wanted to back up last week’s performance with another good one," Australia coach Dave Rennie said.

"A lot of courage tonight and pretty clinical when it counted.”

Australia opened with back-to-back drubbings by New Zealand but they have clicked into gear with inside centre Samu Kerevi transforming their attack.

The win moves them up to third in the world rankings ahead of their final two Tests against Argentina.

However, South Africa could lose their world number one spot if the Pumas lose to the All Blacks by more than 15 points in the late match of the Saturday double-header at Lang Park.

Australia's Marika Koroibete tries to avoid a tackle during the rugby Championship match against South Africa at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on September 18, 2021 - AFP
Australia's Marika Koroibete tries to avoid a tackle during the rugby Championship match against South Africa at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on September 18, 2021 - AFP

South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber apologised to fans and said it was his side's worst performance since they were shocked 32-19 by Argentina in Mendoza in 2018.

"We were really beaten. We got hands-down beaten in everything - defence, kicking game, attack," he told reporters.

"This isn’t a performance that was worthy enough for a Springboks performance."

Australia skipper Michael Hooper was at his tireless best as he notched up a Wallabies record 60th cap as captain, breaking George Gregan's mark.

The only sour point for the hosts was a broken arm for full-back Tommy Banks, who came off second best in a first-half tackle with winger Sbu Nkosi.

South Africa were scrappy from the start, and scrum-half Faf de Klerk was yellow-carded for slowing the ball in a ruck in the 13th minute.

Ikitau was quick to capitalise with Australia's first try a minute later, taking a cut-out pass from scrum-half Nic White to burst through two tacklers in a 10-metre dash.

Barnstorming prop Taniela Tupou then crashed through to set up Ikitau's second, with a Koroibete off-load putting the centre over at the right corner seven minutes later.

De Klerk's return from the sin-bin rejuvenated the South Africans as his pinpoint box-kicks troubled the hosts.

With Lachie Swinton yellow-carded before half-time after a high tackle on Duane Vermeulen, Pollard slotted a fourth penalty to trim the lead to 15-12 at half-time.

With Swinton still off the pitch, a De Klerk grubber kick at the right corner allowed Am to touch down and snatch the lead after the restart.

Cooper swiped the advantage back for Australia with his second penalty before Koroibete took control of the game with a two-try burst in six minutes.

Taking an audacious look-away flick pass from Tupou, Koroibete thundered down the left for the first of his tries in the 62nd minute.

A Reece Hodge turnover followed by a Kerevi offload to Pete Samu ended in a brilliant counter-attacking try to Koroibete on the same wing.

Cooper missed the second conversion but Australia defended stoutly to protect the 13-point lead and complete a confidence-building win.

New Zealand defeated Argentina 36-13 later on Saturday with lock Tupou Vaa'i scoring a brace in the resounding win. The victory sent the All Blacks back to No 1 in the world rankings.

Match details

Australia: Banks; Kellaway, Ikitau, Kerevi, Koroibete; Cooper, White; Slipper, Fainga'a, Tupou, Rodda, Philip, Swinton, Hooper, Valetini.
Replacements: Kaitu'u, Bell, Robertson, Swain, Samu, McDermott, Hodge, Petaia.

South Africa: Le Roux; Nkosi, Am, de Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, de Klerk; Nyakane, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Orie, Kolisi, Mostert, Vermeulen.
Replacements: Marx, Kitshoff, Koch, van Staden, Smith, Wiese, H. Jantjies, Willemse.

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU)

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