South Africa beats Australia, first win in Brisbane since 1971

The Canadian Press
9/7/2013 12:17:22 PM
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BRISBANE, Australia -- South Africa broke its long drought in Brisbane and did it in emphatic style, with captain Jean de Villiers starting the celebrations in the 60th minute of a bonus-point 38-12 win over Australia on Saturday.

The Springboks hadn't won in Brisbane since 1971 and came into the match on an eight-match losing streak in the city since their return from the apartheid era ban. They marked the end of the sequence with their biggest ever win on Australian soil.

"It's always good to get a win against a (team) like Australia," de Villiers said. "To score four tries against Australia in Brisbane, you can't ask for more than that."

The Springboks dominated from the start, with replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen driving over from a close-range lineout in the sixth minute in an ominous sign of what was to come.

The South African forwards dominated the set piece, the back row provided a steady flow of possession and the heavy, physical defence nullified the dangerous Australian backs.

After wearing down the Wallabies, a burst of three tries in eight minutes sealed the result.

De Villiers started and finished the movement that led to South Africa's second try, and that started the flood gates after an hour.

Zane Kirchner and Willie Le Roux also crossed out wide to secure the bonus point and give South Africa the lead in the Rugby Championship with three wins from three starts.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said the win should silence criticism of the South African style.

"Everybody wrote us off and said it's impossible to win here," Meyer said. "The whole week there was a mindset that we can win.

"I thought our defence was awesome. Our scrums were great, the set pieces ... I believe we won the game firstly in the minds, and second without the ball.

"We need to keep our feet on the ground and stay humble. It's a win, and next week it's a bigger challenge."

The Springboks head to New Zealand on a nine-match winning streak, and with a one-point buffer over the All Blacks at the top of the Rugby Championship. The Australians are languishing at the bottom with three consecutive losses.

The Wallabies were disjointed in attack, making only one clean line break in the first half and failing to score a try in a test against South Africa for the first time since 2001. All Australia's points came off the boot of Christian Leali'ifano with four penalties.

The return of Quade Cooper at flyhalf failed to trigger the kind of enterprising attack required to penetrate South Africa's swarming defence, and Israel Folau's switch from wing to fullback wasn't the instant success new coach Ewen McKenzie had hoped for. The Australians let themselves down with handling errors and poor discipline, frustrating both McKenzie and captain Will Genia.

"The bottom line is that we made too many errors to be able to win," said McKenzie, who has presided over three straight losses since replacing Robbie Deans as Wallabies coach. "I can't keep saying that every week, because in the end you have to find our why we are making so many errors, either we are playing a game that's too complicated and the skill level doesn't match it or we dumb it down a bit and make it simpler, but that would be disappointing."

The Wallabies haven't looked like winning any of the three tests since McKenzie took charge, and have now lost five of their last six tests. They'll have to regroup quickly to prepare for next week's test against Argentina, before two away matches to finish off the championship.

"We will have to take a hard look at ourselves, dust ourselves off and be better," Genia said. "We have to get a win. We need to start playing the rugby we know we can play."

Willie le Roux Zane Kirchner (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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