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Qantas Wallabies show spirit in Cape Town

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The Springboks have defeated a spirited Qantas Wallabies team 28-8 in a fast flowing and fiery Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash played in Cape Town early Sunday morning (AEST).

It was clear early on that the Wallabies were more than ready to meet the physical challenge of the Springboks.

In just the third minute urgent defense from the Wallabies repelled a dangerous rolling maul close to their try line. Scrambling defense then led to the Boks losing control of the ball and scrumhalf Nic White cleared.

South Africa were penalized soon after for obstruction and the Wallabies went on to the attack in the Boks 22. Australia were awarded another penalty and Christian Leali’ifano made it 3-0 with a well-struck penalty from out near the left touchline.

The Wallabies were competing much more powerfully at the break down than they had when the two teams last met in Brisbane and looked to be gaining the upper hand in the first ten minutes.

But in an instant the game was turned on its head as the Boks poured on twenty unanswered points in less than eight minutes.

First hooker Adriaan Strauss went over from close range after Quade Cooper darted out of the line and then South Africa broke the mould with a stunning long range try featuring superb hands from the backline that was finished off with Zane Kirchner stepping around Israel Folau.

Steyn converted both tries and landed a second penalty to make it 20-3 at the 18 minute mark.

The Wallabies fought back well but before they could turn their resistance into points flanker Michael Hooper was unfortunate to be yellow carded after a tackle on Eben Etzebeth on 27 minutes.

But with new scrumhalf Fourie du Preez giving lightning service to the Boks backline the Wallabies needed to be speedy and tenacious to stop their line being crossed again by the uncharacteristically adventurous South Africans.

Another penalty to Steyn made it 23-3 but the Wallabies did well only to concede three points with Hooper off the field. The Wallabies then had their own chance to begin a period of numerical dominance when Bok lock Flip van der Merwe was yellow carded for leading with his elbow on the stroke of half time.

Although dominating the scrums early in the second half the Wallabies were unable to make the man advantage count, as Will Genia came on for White to add some extra spark at the base of the ruck.

The move paid dividends with the Wallabies starting to look a lot better with the ball in hand and threatening the Boks defensive line.

With 11 minutes gone in the second half Benn Robinson returned to the Wallabies playing ranks, coming on for James Slipper, as Australia continued to threaten. Sekope Kepu came on for Ben Alexander four minutes later.

Big defence from the Australian backrowers Ben Mowen and Scott Fardy kept turning the Boks around but the Wallabies still could not close the gap.

Coach Ewen McKenzie continued to use his bench bringing on Ben McCalman for Scott Fardy and 19-year-old Reds winger Chris Feauai-Sautia making his Test debut coming on for Joe Tomane.

The Wallabies continued to attack on the back of another superb hit from Mowen and sustained pressure in the South African 22 saw Boks No.8 Duane Vermuelen yellow carded on 66 minutes.

But the advantage was lost as new hooker Saia Fainga’a, on for the courageous Stephen Moore, threw the ball into the lineout askew. Sitaleki Timani also came on for Rob Simmons and introduced himself with a huge hit on Bok replacement Jan Serfontein.

Willie Le Roux somehow snuck over in the corner on 71 minutes to take the Boks out to 28-3, with Steyn missing the conversion from the touchline.

The Wallabies bench was then emptied as Matt Toomua came on for his Brumbies team mate Leali’ifano, as Timani was sent to the bin for deliberate use of the shoulder.

Two superb pieces of play from Cooper then saw Feauai-Sautia score a brilliant consolation try for the Wallabies. First Cooper put Toomua away after some quick thinking on his own try line and then from the resulting lineout Cooper superbly cross-kicked to an unmarked Feauai-Sautia who crossed outwide.

The Boks threw everything they had at the Wallabies in the final moments in desperate search of a precious bonus point try but Australia held strong.

The Wallabies now travel on to Rosario in Argentina where they play the Pumas next weekend in their final match of the 2013 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship, while the Boks meet the All Blacks in a likely Tournament decider in Johannesburg.


Full Time Score

Springboks 28 (Adriaan Strauss, Zane Kirchner, Willie Le Roux tries; Morne Steyn 3 penalties, 2 conversions) defeated Qantas Wallabies 8 (Chris Feauai-Sautia try; Christian Leali’ifano penalty) at Newlands, Cape Town. (Half Time: South Africa 23 Qantas Wallabies 3) (Referee: Jerome Garces [France])