The Springboks were very disappointed after losing their first match in more than 11 months when they were beaten 24-23 by Australia in a Castle Lager Rugby Championship match in a wet and windy Perth on Saturday. The home team won thanks to a converted try by Australia winger Rob Horne late in the match, which sealed their first victory over the Springboks since September 2012. Minutes before the try, Bryan Habana, playing in his 100th Test, was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
In the time the Springbok wing was off the field, Australia scored 10 points. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and his captain, Jean De Villiers, refused to be drawn on the issue of Habana’s yellow card, as well as a first-half penalty awarded to Australia for a high tackle by Duane Vermeulen. “What happened is done and it can’t be changed. We’re very disappointed with the defeat because we played very well. I thought we controlled the second half very well, playing against the wind, and the yellow card disrupted our plans on how we wanted to use the bench. No excuses though, it’s a defeat and it really hurts. We now need to set our sights on our next match, which is our third away from home on the trot, and rectify matters against New Zealand in Wellington. It will take a monumental effort and we’ve got a lot of respect for New Zealand, but I believe we can beat them there,” said Meyer.
De Villiers, who played in his 99th Test for South Africa, said, “We played great rugby at stages, but they stuck to their guns until the end and scored the try that mattered. We probably made a few mistakes, which cost us, and defending with 14 men at the end was tough, but credit to the Wallabies for coming back. We lost this one and we’ve got to bounce back next week in Wellington. We can’t change anything that happened here and have to go back to the drawing board on Monday.” The Springboks will travel to Wellington via Auckland on Sunday evening (Australian time). They face New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium next Saturday (kickoff 09:35 SA time).