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The Qantas Wallabies succumbed to their third straight loss in the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane tonight suffering a record 38-12 defeat at the hands of a rampant Springboks.
The Boks scored four tries to notch up a bonus point while the Wallabies were kept try-less with their only points coming from the boot of young inside centre Christian Leali’ifano with four penalties.
The Boks led 16-6 at half time and ran away in the second half scoring 22 points to 6. It was the Wallabies biggest loss to South Africa on home soil.
While thoughts around the nation may have focused on a different contest, inside the Stadium the only focus was on the Men of Gold taking on the World No.2 ranked South Africa.
After a stirring rendition of both national anthems, it was the visitors who started the better, showing their hand with a perfectly launched bomb, magnificently diffused by fullback Israel Folau.
The Boks then were awarded a penalty for Quade Cooper being caught offside and the line kick found touch five metres from the Wallabies line, despite what looked like a brilliant effort from wing Nick Cummins to keep the ball in.
From the lineout the Boks' maul rumbled forward and replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who was on for the blood-binned Jannie Du Plessis, crashed over. The decision went to the TMO but referee George Clancy saw enough to award the try.
Flyhalf Morne Steyn landed the conversion and South Africa were leading 7-0 after five minutes.
The Wallabies then poured on to attack with Cooper putting through a perfectly weighted chip kick, which was superbly re-gathered by Folau. Australia were looking dangerous and when South Africa flanker Willem Alberts deliberately knocked down a Will Genia pass on the Boks 22-metre line he was yellow carded.
Leali’ifano landed the penalty and the Wallabies were back to 7-3 with nine minutes gone. It was 10-3 four minutes later as Genia was penalized for offside at a scrum and Steyn landed a penalty from 40 metres out, directly in front.
The game was already opening up with the Wallabies determined to play high-tempo attacking Rugby and soon Cummins split the Boks defence on the halfway line, with only a slip in his footing stopping what looked like a stunning solo try.
Another penalty against the Boks for slowing the ball down at the breakdown brought it back to 10-6 with a second accurate penalty to Leali’ifano.
The Boks now launched a sustained attack with a strong bust by No.8 Duane Vermeulen putting the Wallabies on the back foot. Eventually Cooper was pinged for offside and Steyn made it 13-6 after 27 minutes.
The Boks were further ahead on 35 minutes when Folau was penalized for holding on 22 metres out from his own line after ferocious foraging by the South African backrow of Vermuelen, Alberts and Francois Louw. Steyn’s penalty made it 16-6 to the visitors.
The Wallabies then had their chance to strike back but Louw won another penalty at the other end of the field.
In the dying minutes of the half Bok winger Willie Le Roux was stopped metres short before Steyn had another chance to increase South Africa’s lead on the half time siren, but his penalty faded just metres to the right of the posts.
The Wallabies started well in the second half with a perfectly weighted high kick by Cooper which was then toed through by hooker Stephen Moore. Good defence from the Wallabies then trapped the Boks behind their own goal line.
From the resulting five metre scrum the Wallabies attacked and soon won a penalty which Leali’ifano landed to bring the Wallabies back to 16-9.
But the Wallabies problems at scrum time persisted and another penalty to the Boks gave them a chance to launch another attack after 46 minutes.
Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper was then yellow carded for a lifting tackle on Bok wing Bryan Habana and Steyn made it 19-9 from the penalty from wide out on the left.
South African lock Flip van der Merwe was fortunate to escape a yellow card moments later for what looked like a shoulder charge on Wallabies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper. But from the resultant penalty Leali’ifano made it 19-12 with his fourth penalty.
Leali’ifano displayed a different skill set when he popped a superb pass for James Slipper on 57 minutes but the move came to nothing when Leali’ifano knocked on himself in backing up.
The Wallabies then launched a sustained attack but Louw, who was later named Man of the Match, won a turnover on halfway and the ball came wide from Steyn to captain Jean de Villiers who put Habana away on a sprint down the left touchline.
Habana chipped ahead and the ball was re-gathered deep in the Wallabies 22 through good work from replacement lock Juandre Kruger who recycled quickly to scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar.
Pienaar then picked out de Villiers with a pin-point inside pass and the Bok captain strode over to take the Boks out to a 22-12 lead. Steyn converted and with South Africa up 24-12 they looked well on the way to their first win in Brisbane since 1971.
It got worse for the Wallabies soon after when fullback Zane Kirchner dove over out wide after some quick ruck ball and when Willie Le Roux cut through Australia’s defence minutes later South Africa were home and hosed up 38-12 with just over ten minutes remaining, Steyn landing both conversions.
James O’Connor set the crowd alight with a run down the right touchline but good covering from Le Roux snuffed out the danger. Ashley-Cooper looked through moments later but the ball went to ground. The Wallabies continued to attack right till the end but the green line could not be breached.
Australia now move on to Perth where they will meet Argentina next Saturday night at Patersons Stadium in the fourth round of the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.
CASTROL EDGE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
FULL TIME SCORE
South Africa 38 (Coenie Oosthuizen, Jean de Villiers, Zane Kirchner, Willie Le Roux tries; Morne Steyn 3 conversions, 4 penalties) defeated Qantas Wallabies 12 (Christian Leali’ifano 4 penalties) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. (Half Time: South Africa 16 – Qantas Wallabies 6) (Crowd: 43,715) (Man of the Match: Francois Louw)