The Qantas Wallabies have continued their undefeated run on Australian soil in 2014 with a come from behind 24 to 23 victory over South Africa’s Springboks in Perth on Saturday night.
The Wallabies’ undefeated run comes off the back of a 3-0 victory over France and a draw in Sydney against the All Blacks.
The win is the first for the Qantas Wallabies in the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and Australia will now turn its attention to taking on Argentina on the Gold Coast with tickets still available at www.rugby.com.au.
Israel Folau started the match in fine form for the Qantas Wallabies catching the ball off the kick off and backing it up a minute and a half later as he crossed for the first try of the match.
The Wallabies forwards worked hard before flyhalf Bernard Foley and centre Matt Toomua combined to give Israel Folau a clear run to the line and Australia a 5-0 lead.
The Wallabies continued to run the ball from their own half, racking up 17 runs with the ball in the first eight minutes. However South Africa countered on a Wallabies ruck and were able to secure a penalty right in front, taking the score to 5-3.
The Springboks continued to attack the Qantas Wallabies in their defensive zone and despite an impressive work rate from the men in gold, eventually South Africa crossed in the corner with a try to winger Cornal Hendricks.
Australia countered quickly with a brilliant run from outside centre Tevita Kuridrani who darted and weaved his way through the scrambling Springbok defence.
The Qantas Wallabies continued to attack the line until a penalty was awarded to Australia allowing Bernard Foley to convert a difficult three pointer.
A mistake from Australia proved costly off the restart and South Africa was able to retake the lead, leaving the score at 8-11 in favour of South Africa at the 20 minute mark.
The Springboks’ experience at the breakdown showed as Morne Steyn was able to convert his third penalty of the evening, taking South Africa’s lead to 14-8.
The Wallabies continued to attack the South African line and were rewarded with a penalty for a high tackle by the Springboks on the hard running James Slipper, which Bernard Foley converted.
A daring attacking run from Bernard Foley on the left flank of the South African defence almost allowed Adam Ashley-Cooper to dive forward for a brilliant try, but the wet conditions and the hand of Cornal Hendricks meant the try went begging and South Africa escaped the Wallabies attack.
Both teams traded possession as they fought to establish momentum before half time but the score remained at 11-14 in favour of South Africa.
The second half started well for the Qantas Wallabies with a quick chase and fierce tackling from Wallabies captain Michael Hooper leading to Australia getting a penalty right in front.
Bernard Foley didn’t make a mistake as Australia drew level 14-14 all.
Springboks’ flyhalf Morne Steyn put South Africa back in the lead with two consecutive penalties, bringing the score to 14-20.
The intense battle between the two teams continued well into the second half as the Wallabies fought against the powerful South African forward pack.
Morne Steyn extended the Springboks lead to 23-14 with another accurate penalty kick.
The Qantas Wallabies never dropped their heads as they continued to play attacking Rugby against South Africa.
With the Wallabies pounding the South African line, Springbok winger Bryan Habana caught Adam Ashley-Cooper high, which earned the 100-times capped Springbok ten minutes in the sin bin.
Home town hero Matt Hodgson of the Western Force entered the field with less than ten minutes remaining, much to the delight of the 25, 718 fans at the match.
As the clock continued to count down, the Wallabies threw everything they had at the immense Spingboks defence, as wave after wave of Australian attack was repelled.
The brilliance of replacement centre Kurtley Beale created space for the rampaging Tevita Kuridrani who threw off two defenders allowing Rob Horne to score a try, taking the score to 22-23 in favour of South Africa.
The pressure kick was again placed on flyhalf Bernard Foley, who with the experience he has shown throughout 2014, calmly converted the try to take the score to 24-23 in favour of the home side.
Australia held on to possession for the final minute to claim a memorable victory in Perth and return to their winning ways.