Boks break their Brisbane hoodoo

Sat, 07 Sep 2013 12:19
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South Africa ended a drought of more than 40 years with a bonus-point demolition of Australia in their Rugby Championship match on Saturday.

South Africa ended a drought of more than 40 years with a bonus-point demolition of Australia in their Rugby Championship match on Saturday.

The 38-12 (four tries to nil) win is the first time since 1971 that South Africa won in Brisbane and the first time ever they won at the Suncorp Stadium.

History was not just made in Brisbane, the result shattered the past in the shattering of the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium.

This was a great Springbok win. Or was it? Are we perhaps overestimating the Wallabies?

They have striding Israel Folau and mesmeric Quade Cooper and genius Will Genia, the best scrumhalf in the world and they did not achieve much, certainly not a try. In fact their best back was probably Nick Cummins.

Their forwards were beaten up at the scrums and - surprisingly - in the turn-over count where the Springboks used five fetchers, or at any rate had five players who won turnovers, though the best of them was Francois Louw.

If you are a Springbok supporter, it was a joyous day. If you were a Wallaby supporter is was a dreary match by a team that seemed to lack cohesion, spark and spirit.

The Springboks won the scrums hands down. They seemed to know what they were doing and that they enjoyed doing it together.

Spirit clearly played a large part. In a condescending way during the week the Australian coach Ewan McKenzie said that Willie le Roux was more like an Australian rugby player with his skill and flair. If skill and flair were the criteria, there were no Australian rugby players in today's Wallabies.

The Springboks had a great game in Soweto and followed it with a poor game in Mendoza. They had a great game tonight in Brisbane. Will they follow it with a poor performance in Auckland next week. If their confidence boils over, they will come a cropper.

The Springboks won the toss and chose to kick-off. Jannie du Plessis went off as a blood replacement, his place taken by Coenie Oosthuizen whose stay at this stage was short but productive.

Morné Steyn kicked a penalty out brilliantly five metres from the Australian line. The Springboks threw deep, mauled briefly and then there was Tendai Mtawarira driving at the line. Back it came from the tackle into the welcoming arms of Oosthuizen who drove over for the a try, which Steyn converted. 7-0 after 5 minutes. From then on the Springboks increased their lead.

It seemed that wheels could come off when Willem Alberts was penalised and sin-binned for a deliberate knock-down when the Wallabies were attacking. Christian Leali'ifano goaled the penalty (7-3 after 8 minutes) but then Genia was offside and the score during Alberts's incarceration was 3-3.

Mind you, the Wallabies had a great chance when from a line-out Cummins broke clean through. Faced by Le Roux he slipped to the ground. The Springbok defence scrambled, Le Roux intercepted a pass and Bryan Habana another and they cleared their lines.

Jean de Villiers was penalised at a tackle and Leali'ifano goaled. 10-6 after 22 minutes but then Steyn goaled twice more when Cooper was offside and Folau hung on. Steyn missed a long, angled penalty on half-time but the Springboks led 16-6 at the break.

The second half was barely under way when Steyn dropped a Cooper up-and-under. Stephen Moore kicked down to the Springbok line where De Villiers saved but Le Roux was caught in his in-goal to give the Wallabies a five-metre scrum. Louw was penalised at tackle and Leali'ifano made it 16-9 after 42 minutes, though at no time did it really look as if the Wallabies would score a try.

The Springboks were attacking and Michael Hooper picked up Habana and went to ground with him, earning a yellow card.

At this stage the creaking Wallaby scrum started coming apart. After the second scrum penalty of the half, Steyn goaled. 19-9 after 50 minutes but two minutes Leali'ifano goaled his fourth and last while the Springboks doubled their score with tries.

They attacked down the left where Habana chipped and was taken out late but Juandré Kruger brilliantly caught the wing's chip. From a tackle/ruck, Pienaar gave to De Villiers who cut clean through a gap, beat a Wallaby and scored. 24-12 with 20 minutes to play.

This was the stage where Genia had predicted the Springboks would fade. In fact it was the time when the Springboks earned their bonus point.

They went through advancing phases till Pienaar went right and gave a magnificent pass to Le Roux who raced for the line but played inside to Zane Kirchner, who was in a gap and scored in an arching dive. 31-12 with 15 minutes to play.

Cooper danced and Louw took him. The Springboks had a turnover. Duane Vermeulen picked up the ball and offloaded a scruffy pass along the ground to Le Roux who picked it up. He raced downfield with Kirchner on his outside, fooled Genia and raced over for his try - the bonus-point try. 38-19.

The Wallabies had a good moment in the time left when James O'Connor raced down the right. He kicked and chased but Le Roux saved.

Man of the Match: The only candidates were Springboks, from Zane Kirchner to Tendai Mtawarira. Some were stronger candidates than others - Francois Louw, Bismarck du Plessis, Morné Steyn, Willie le Roux, Eben Etzebeth and our choice - Jean de Villiers, for his play, for his manners, for what he means to his record-setting team.

Moment of the Match: Any of the three second-half tries had moments of magic but our choice is the bonus-point try, when Quade Cooper gave it away, Duane Vermeulen got it to Willie le Roux and he raced 50 metres or more, past Will Genia, to score.

Villain of the Match: There were two yellow cards - for Willem Alberts and for Michael Hooper, but if a villain were chosen it would be Michael Hooper for his action was so much more dangerous.

The scorers:

For Australia:
Lealiifano 4

For South Africa:
Oosthuizen, De Villiers, Kirchner, Le Roux
Cons: Steyn 3
Pens: Steyn 4

Yellow cards: Willem Alberts (South Africa, 8 - professional foul, slapped down), Michael Hooper (Australia 49 - foul play, spear tackle)


Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (captain), 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jesse Mogg.

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandre Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)