In a nerve-wracking end to their Rugby Championship clash in Perth on Saturday, the Springboks were held to a 23-23 draw against Australia.
Each side takes two log points from the game.
The Boks had a golden opportunity to win the game in the 79th minute but an attempted drop-kick from Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies was stormed down.
Flank Siya Kolisi though managed to regain possession but they chance went a begging when centre Jesse Kriel lost the ball forward deep inside the Wallaby 22.
While the Boks have kept their unbeaten record this year, they would have loved to secure the win going into the big game next weekend against New Zealand.
Australia held a 13-10 lead at the break and seemed in control when a try from a rolling maul by Wallaby hooker Tatafu Poloto-Nau gave them a 20-10 lead in the 47th minute.
But the Springboks hit back when hooker Malcolm Marx scored his team’s second try in the same fashion to level matters 20-20 after 59 minutes and everything to play for.
The Springboks, however, squandered two big scoring opportunities in the second half when first centre Jan Serfontein was stopped inches short and just minutes later flank Jaco Kriel lost the ball just short of the whitewash after a magnificent counter.
Who was the star in this match?
Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit was impressive after getting a rare start ahead of Franco Mostert. He was superb in the lineouts, produced a high tackle rate and provided a valuable physical edge to the Boks pack when they were under pressure from the Wallabies. He was immense in the line-outs too.
Key moments and themes
- The first half was easily the Boks’ worst performance the entire year. There was no continuity, tempo or flow in their play while Australia dominated territory and possession. Handling errors and poor execution in defence made the Wallabies look better than they really were.
- Before finally exerting some dominance in the second half, the scrums were an absolute mess. The Springboks conceded two free kicks for an early engagement when it fact it looked like the Wallabies were pulling back just before the point of contact. It nullified a strength in 2017 to date.00
- The Springboks scored the first try of the game in the 25th minute by Jesse Kriel after scrumhalf Ross Cronje reacted quickly to pick up the ball after Pieter-Steph du Toit turned it over. Kriel chipped it forward while wing Raymond Rhule chased hard for Kriel to pick up the ball and dived over. It was actually a bit of a lucky score as South Africa hardly showed any attacking skill up to that point.
- Credit to the Wallabies, who were good in taking advantage of South Africa’s errors. They weren’t always great but they held out well. The performance of referee Glen Jackson was questionable at times.
Australia: Tries: Kurtley Beale, Tatafu Poloto-Nau. Conversions: Bernard Foley (2). Penalties: Foley (3).
South Africa: Tries: Jesse Kriel, Malcolm Marx. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (3).