The Springboks started their Rugby Championship away leg on a disappointing, losing note, going down 23-18 to the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday in wet underfoot conditions.
In a poor advertisement for Test rugby in general, South Africa failed to score a single point in the second half.
The Boks only have themselves to blame.
It’s a fourth loss in seven starts for coach Rassie Erasmus and with the All Blacks now lying in wait in Wellington next weekend, more heartache is on the agenda.
While the Boks were powerful in the scrums and showed a lot of intensity and ambition, they were very inaccurate in their execution.
Who was the star in this match?
Although on the losing side, Bok flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit performed like a warrior and was always willing to put his body on the line. He went through a mountain of work on both defence and as a ball carrier and tackled superbly. Du Toit probably saved certain tries by the Wallabies on at least two occasions.
Key moments and themes
- The Wallabies rocked the Boks with an early, second minute try by flank and captain Michael Hooper after the visitors were again found vulnerable on defence in the wider channels and with flanker Pete Samu winning a huge amount of territory. It didn’t help that erratic scrumhalf Faf de Klerk’s kick from the base was so pointless.
- The Boks bounced back quickly with two great tries by hooker Bongi Mbonambi with a maul try in the 15th minute and a from wing Makazole Mapimpi in the 29th after the visitors showed good patience on attack.
- But the microcosm for the Boks’ performance came moments later. In a nightmarish, embarrassing sequence, Mbonambi overthrew a lineout following a horrendous call from an unknown players, which gifted the Wallabies a try under the posts by centre Matt Toomua. Erasmus replaced Mbonambi immediately afterwards in what looked like him blaming the hooker. The reality might be though that it wasn’t just his fault.
- The Wallabies were hardly compelling themselves but managed to squeeze out two penalties from the Boks’ indiscipline as they, crucially, calmed themselves down and allowed their opponents to collapse under the weight of their mistakes and shocking decision-making.
Australia – Tries: Michael Hooper, Matt Toomua. Conversions: Toomua (2). Penalties: Toomua (2), Reece Hodge.
Springboks – Tries: Bongi Mbonambi, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalties: Jantjies (2).