They don’t call it the Windy City for nothing but the Springboks managed to tame the gusts and a fired-up Wallabies team in winning 23-12 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening.
South Africa went into half-time with a lead of 20-12, both teams scoring two tries each, before a largely forgettable second 40 only saw three points scored.
That said, the Boks deserve credit for the tenacity they displayed, particularly on defence.
While this win sets up a classic rematch with New Zealand next weekend at Loftus, the Boks will know they have to pull out all the stops and improve dramatically.
Who was the star in this match?
Boks left-wing Aphiwe Dyantyi showed he is fast developing into one of the most devastating wings in world rugby. He was simply a bundle of energy and, apart from creating the Boks’ first try with a sneaky interception, he was generally a nightmare for the Wallabies defence. To showcase his versatility, Dyantyi at least twice pulled off try-saving tackles and not even his yellow could take anything away from a lionhearted performance.
Key moments and themes
- Despite squandering a few early opportunities, the Boks started like a house on fire after tries from Dyantyi after just 32 seconds and a second by scrumhalf Faf de Klerk in the 21st minute. The nippy halfback though was indebted to his partner Handre Pollard, whose fine break set up the platform. Nonetheless, the Boks lacked a cutting edge on attack.
- Indeed, South Africa were truly wasteful. They should’ve kicked themselves for Dyantyi failing to hold on to the ball in the 12th minute when it looked as if centre Jesse Kriel could’ve scored himself after a massive gap in midfield was exposed. Captain Siya Kolisi also would have regretted not making an inside pass after he made a great run, which started on the Boks’ own goal-line.
- Typical of Australia, they hit back in scoring fairly soft tries through centre Reece Hodge and scrumhalf Will Genia to close the gap to just 14-12. It was a frustrating period for the hosts, who really should’ve been out of sight at that stage. But the Boks’ muscular approach led to two penalties that gave them the vital cushion.
- Referee Jerome Garces certainly didn’t cover himself in glory after sending Dyantyi off in the 65th minute for repeated infringements after the winger himself was a target of a ugly late tackle minutes earlier. That only resulted in a penalty. It was easy to see though why the Boks previously won only three from 12 Tests under him as he penalised the Boks relentlessly on the ground, with Wallaby flanker David Pocock creating big headaches.
- The Aussies enjoyed much territory and possession but their shocking handling and inability to effectively counter the Boks’ aggressive defence proved their undoing. This is a side in huge trouble.
Springboks – Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi, Faf de Klerk. Conversions: Handre Pollard (2). Penalties: Pollard (3).
Australia – Tries: Reece Hodge, Will Genia. Conversion: Matt Toomua.