Springboks lose Wallabies South Africa Australia rugby
Australia inflicted a 30-17 defeat on the Springboks. Photo: SA Rugby

An outstanding performance from a well-organised Australia inflicted a 30-17 defeat on the Springboks at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday – their heaviest loss in 29 Tests since losing by the same margin to Argentina in Mendoza in 2018.

The Wallabies scored four tries – two each to centre Len Ikitau and wing Marika Koroibete – to one from Bok centre Lukhanyo Am, to see the visitors’ hopes of retaining the Rugby Championship hit the buffers.

An early yellow card, within the first 15 minutes – this time for scrumhalf Faf de Klerk – again allowed the Wallabies to get the first try on the board and although the Boks fought back well to hold the lead briefly in the second half, unusual defensive hesitancy, and a high error count ultimately cost them.

The mountain they made for themselves began with two tries in seven minutes by Ikitau in the first quarter – while De Klerk was in the sin bin.


De Klerk was sent to the sideline for slapping the ball out of his opposite number, Nic White’s hands in the 13th minute. Scoreboard punishment was instantaneous as Ikitau brushed through two tackles to score halfway out on the Wallaby left, from second phase possession from the lineout.

Flyhalf Quade Cooper surprisingly struck the outside of the upright with what should have been a straightforward conversion. But he was on the mark from a similar position on the right when the Bok defence was exposed shortly afterwards.

Pressure in the Bok 22 and quick hands from left to right created an opening for a delighted Iktitau to dash in untouched from 10 metres.

Pollard kicked the first of four penalty goals from four attempts in the opening half (between the tries) and when De Klerk returned the deficit was nine points at 12-3.

Three further Pollard penalty goals – to one from Cooper – closed the gap to three points at the break (15-12) as the Boks profited from the sin-binning of Wallaby flanker Lachlan Swinton. Referee Matthew Carley first indicated a red card for a shoulder charge and head-to-head collision on Bok No 8, Duane Vermeulen, but on a further viewing reduced the sanction to yellow.

The Boks extracted further punishment with a try two minutes into the new half from Am. De Klerk poked through a grubber down the blindside of a ruck close to the right-hand touchline for Am to race after it and touchdown in the corner of the in-goal.

Pollard’s touchline conversion attempt stayed out on the near side, but the Boks had the lead for the first time (17-15), but it was to be just a nine-minute luxury.

Cooper kicked a 51st minute penalty goal to grab the Wallabies a one-point advantage, and then the game blew open. Koroibete scored two tries in six minutes as the normally resolute Springbok defence buckled.

They were exposed down the blindside of a ruck 40-metres out with quick hands among the Wallaby forwards opening the way for a 30-metre run-in for Koroibete. Then, from turnover possession, he was charging clear again from broken play as the Springbok defence laboured to plug the gaps.

The Boks enjoyed field position for the remaining ten minutes or so, but their day was summed up as the Wallabies twice won ruck turnovers five metres from their own line and the final act was an attacking lineout which was overthrown.

READ: Springbok Coach Neinaber on Defeat Against Australia’s Wallabies: “We Were Not Good Enough”

Scorers:

Springboks 17 (12) – Try: Lukhanyo Am. Penalty goals: Handre Pollard (4).

Australia 30 (15) – Tries: Len Ikitau (2), Marika Koroibete (2). Conversions: Quade Cooper (2). Penalty goals: Cooper (2).

Source: SARugby