Springboks Edge Aussies

Australia’s winless streak in Pretoria continues after going down 18-10 to South Africa in the Rugby Champinoship on Saturday. Morne Steyn booted all the points for the Springboks, justifying Allister Coetzee’s decision to bring the flyhalf in for Elton Jantjies. Steyn started the action in the fourth minute with a drop goal to hand the Boks the early advantage.

However Bernard Foley hit back three minutes later for the Wallabies and then in the 14th minute the Australians were in the lead courtesy of a Scott Sio try. Micheal Cheika’s men played the phases before Michael Hooper burst away to his left. Hooper was brought down but from the resulting ruck the visitors swung the ball wide in the opposie direction culminating in Sio’s five-pointer which Foley duly converted for a 10-3 lead.

Steyn reduced the deficit in the 26th minute with his first penalty of the evening. There was controversy a minute later when Foley fumbled the ball just outside his own 22. Referee Wayne Barnes was unmoved but Coetzee’s side were clearly aggrieved with television images showing a frustrated Willem Alberts yelling “Come on!” from the bench.

Six minutes before the break Barnes used his yellow card for the first and only time in the match after Israel Folau was adjudged to have obstructed Bryan Habana. The South African wing was on his way to the tryline before chipping the Aussie fullback, whose turned back saw Habana crashing to the Loftus Versfeld surface. Steyn converted the resulting penalty to bring the hosts to within one.

On the stroke of half-time Steyn landed another penalty for the home team to take a 12-10 lead into the half-time interval. A largely uneventful second half saw Cheika’s charges enjoy territorial advantage without ever making it count. A scoreless period was finally brought to life by a Steyn penalty in the 75th minute. The flyhalf then booted a second drop goal of the night to ensure an 18-10 victory for the men in green and gold.

Skipper Adriaan Strauss was named man of the match as South Africa move up to second on the competition log, but have no chance of overtaking New Zealand, who have already won the 2016 title.