Five things we learnt from Wallabies-Springboks

Sat, Jul 8, 2023, 5:29 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Springboks kicked off the 2023 Rugby Championship against the Wallabies

When Eddie Jones envisioned his Wallabies return, this was the furthest thing from his mind.

The Wallabies were outclassed by the Springboks across the park as the hosts came away with the 43-12 victory.

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It leaves the visitors needing to rebound quickly as they return home for a dangerous game against Argentina.

So what did we learn?


Eddie Jones has been the talk of the town since his appointment in January, however, he needs to now find a way to rally the Wallabies after a lacklustre opening Test.

They were outmatched in almost all areas as the Springboks showed why they are one of the favourites for the World Cup with a dominant win even with a plethora of players watching the game from New Zealand.

The Wallabies had a clear plan to play without the ball in hand heading into this game. To do this, you need to win the territory and contact battle, where they were dominated by the Springboks.

The majority of the game was played inside their half, especially the Wallabies' 22 as the South Africans constantly took the ball over the advantage line.

Along with this, the discipline issues remain, giving away a pair of penalty tries and yellow cards as the penalty count ended 13-3.

Jones and the Wallabies return to Australia under significant pressure against an Argentina side who will now sense they can cause an upset.


In just 12 minutes, Carter Gordon made a fair case for more minutes and a potential start against Argentina after a strong night off the bench.

He steadied the ship and added some nice touches as the Rebel wasn't overawed by Test Rugby.

This was highlighted by a great grubber to Koroibete ending in a debut try for the playmaker, showcasing the type of form that earned him selection.

Along with Gordon, Nick Frost was strong around the lineout, stealing a pair of Springbok throws in the second half.

He was joined by Marika Koroibete, electric in attack as he scored a great try in the opening ten minutes


The Springboks had a clear plan to run the Wallabies ragged and it worked to perfection. 

The combo of Manie Libbok and Kurt-Lee Arendse caused headaches for the defence as they torched them in attack

Arendse was unstoppable as he added a hat-trick just after the break, continuing his dream start to Test Rugby to sit at eight tries in eight games.

This was set up by a brutal display from the forward pack, constantly winning the contact battle and allowing constant quick ball for Cobus Reinach.

It was a complete performance from their pack, summed off with several strong carries to set up the easiest of tries for Pieter-Steph du Toit.


There’s a reason only three international teams have won in Pretoria.

The altitude sapped the energy from the Wallabies as they started to fall off tackles late in the first half. 

When you’re forced to make 40 more tackles than your opposition in each half, it eventually catches up to you as the Springbok forwards took advantage.

This coupled with the yellow cards gave South Africa all the time and space necessary to pick apart a defence still finding its shape.


The Wallabies will be a lot better when they fix up the little mistakes in their game that had a major effect on the game.

Reece Hodge was unsuccessful from all three kicks from the tee. Even though they were tough chances, it allowed the Springboks to build scoreboard pressure and run away with the clash.

Their general kicking also lacked accuracy, kicking out on the full a couple of times whilst inviting the Springboks back three into the game at points.

On top of this, there were a number of key passes floating forward that would've set up promising attacks for the visitors.

A lot of that can be put down to it being the first game of the year, however, is amplified in a loss like this.