Wallabies vs South Africa: Five things we learned

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies and Springboks played out a 23-23 draw in Perth on Saturday night.

What are we talking about after that nib Stadium thriller?

1. Sea of Blue shows in waves

The emotion from the Force’s Super Rugby axing was visible among the 17,528 fans at nib Stadium on Saturday night, but there wasn’t the venom many had predicted. Punters saved their loudest cheers for their Force representatives and broke out into ‘Force, Force, Force’ chants ahead of kick-off and again at the 45th minute. Roughly a third of the crowd donned Western Force jerseys to the game.

Cameron Clyne was at the Test. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyBoth Bill Pulver and Cameron Clyne were at the match on Saturday night, but by all reports, there were no major incidents involving the pair, a good reflection on everyone.

2. Shock and draw in Perth

The Wallabies have played out some heart stoppers against the Springboks in recent times but it’s been a whopping 17 years since they last failed to find a definitive result against South Africa. It was 2001 the last time the teams finished on level pegging, and strangely that game was also in Perth. Both sides mounted their cases for victory but they found just as many ways to concede.

3. Brilliant Beale finds another stunner

Kurtley Beale has not put a foot wrong since coming home to Australia, in scintillating form for the Wallabies. The inside centre was again ahead of the pack in Perth, highlighted by a sensational 28th minute solo try, where the 28-year-old slipped through the gaps of the South African defence. Possibly the most indicative moment of the effort he put in was his desperation when the full-time hooter went, and the pain the enigmatic back simply couldn’t hide. Kurtley Beale is back, and the Wallabies are all the better for it.

4. Foley finds his radar again

Bernard Foley had a perfect conversion rate on Saturday night. Photo: Getty ImagesAfter their heartbreaking Dunedin loss, the Wallabies were quick to say they shouldn’t have to leave the fate of a game down to the accuracy of their kicker. That said, things looked a whole lot more settled when Bernard Foley was hitting them sweetly on Saturday night. The Wallabies flyhalf finished with four-from-four, additions that proved crucial in a draw.

5. Kriel a breakdown beast

Jaco Kriel was destructive for the Springboks on Saturday night, putting the heat on Australia in tight. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was not happy with his team’s attacking ruck efforts in the opening 40, but they sorted them out in the second half, bringing the breakdown stats closer to parity, though that was little consolation with the final result. Kriel though never stopped making an impact, finishing with 15 tackles overall.