Fourteen months ago it took 82 minutes for the Wallabies to shake the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium.
On Saturday night, the result was decided well before the final seconds but the relief was just as acute for the Wallabies, in a 23-17 victory that broke a six-Test losing streak dating back to last year’s World Cup final.
Their third Rugby Championship performance didn’t answer every question hanging over the Wallabies, but after finding themselves in a 14-3 hole after 17 minutes, they gritted their teeth and piled on 20 unanswered points, with a composure that had evaporated against New Zealand.
Where in recent weeks frustration and confusion had crept in, this time around an air of determination took over, led by a destructive display from Michael Hooper, at his tireless best.
The opening exchanges were frantic but error-riddled from both sides, a tale with which many Australian spectators would be familiar.
A try-saving Will Genia tackle came in the second minute but was negated in the third with Warren Whiteley opening the tally for the visitors.
Flyhalf Quade Cooper was in his element on his home deck for the first time since that Springboks clash in July 2015, showing some variety with his kicking game and generating two serious attacking charges, but it was a Bernard Foley penalty that yielded their first points.
Australia heaped on the pressure in the ensuing minutes, with Cooper the linchpin in a promising attacking move on the left edge, but a Foley intercept pass turned promise into pain, with Springboks hooker Adriaan Strauss kicking off a chain that ended in a Johan Goosen try.
Australia didn’t cough up a second certain chance, though, converting a deep attacking up into a try to Adam Coleman, lurking on the wing, with the tallest Wallaby snatching a Genia pass for his first Test try.
A slick Cooper pass put Samu Kerevi on an attacking path, giving plenty of home fans a reason to lick their lips about the 2017 Super Rugby season, with the latter showing his best form in a Wallabies jersey of his four Test career.
The Springboks had a chance to extend their lead again just shy of half-time, after Israel Folau was penalised for a shoulder charge on Goosen, but Jantjies’s shot missed and the Springboks took a one-point advantage to the break.
Momentum was all with the Wallabies after half-time, with a yellow card to Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth handing Foley the chance to give Australia its first lead of the night.
Half chances to Samu Kerevi and Scott Sio turned into near misses, but a slice of redemption came for Foley after a marathon 18 phases in the 62nd minute, giving Australia a nine-point buffer.
A late penalty kept South Africa in it, but the Wallabies clung on to the margin with strong defensive efforts.
The Wallabies now travel to Perth to face Argentina, while the Springboks go to Christchurch to play New Zealand.
Tries: Coleman, Foley
Cons: Foley 3 Pens:Foley 2
South Africa 17
Tries: Whiteley, Goosen
Cons: Jantjies 2