Late Bok surge swamps Aussies
Gavin Rich
September 27, 2014

The Springboks scored a stunning 20 points in the last 10 minutes to turn what had been a close Castle Lager Rugby Championship test match into an emphatic 28-10 win over the Wallabies at Newlands on Saturday night.

For most of the way, the Australians would have felt that they were going to come closer than they have on their past two visits to South Africa.

Indeed, they led for almost an hour, so they should have had hopes of scoring their first win in Cape Town in 22 years, particularly when replacement Bok flyhalf Patrick Lambie missed a penalty attempt from in front of the posts with 16 minutes to go.

The Wallabies were clinging to a 10-8 lead now, and when that kick was missed, they would have started to think it was going to be their night.

However, there was a massive injection of energy from the Bok bench in this game, and the Boks flicked the switch to forward drive in the final 15 minutes.

First there was a long particularly impressive multi-phase build-up in which the Boks showed great patience before, with the hosts running out of options metres from the line, Lambie atoned for his earlier miss with a neatly taken drop goal that put the Boks into an 11-10 lead.

That meant the Wallabies had to chase the game for the first time in a long while, and it played into Bok hands as the pressure was transferred onto the visitors.

A brilliant break from near his own 10 metre line by Jan Serfontein put Cornal Hendricks away down the right flank, and although he was held up near the corner, the Wallabies turned over their possession by not controlling the ball, and Bismarck du Plessis steadied himself before sending Jean de Villiers in on the right corner.

The Bok captain didn’t have his greatest game in the green and gold, but he was to end with a brace of tries, for it was he who was on hand to slide over in the left corner on the stroke of fulltime after the opportunity had been set up by a mesmerising 50-metre run from replacement scrumhalf Cobus Reinach.

Before that, it was Lambie who joined the try-scoring act, with a big gap opening in front of him as the Boks built up to the left near the Wallaby line and he scythed through before reaching out and dotting down after being tackled.

So the Boks not only won, which seemed far from likely when the Wallabies dominated the third quarter of the game and could so easily have put the South Africans away during that period, they did so with a bonus point – which means they are clinging to hopes of being alive in the Championship when the final game roles around against the All Blacks next week.

A bonus-point win for the Kiwis against Argentina in the early hours of Sunday morning will however cancel that and enable Richie McCaw’s team to clinch the Championship for the third successive year.


Not that it should really matter too much to the Boks, for this game was all about winning, and coach Heyneke Meyer may even be quite pleased that his team made heavy weather of it.

By chasing the game too much in the first hour, and thereby letting the Aussies into it, the Boks were forced to come from behind to win a close game – something that should be important psychologically after they came so close and yet so far in their previous two matches against members of the southern hemisphere big three this season.

There were several standouts for the Boks, and Francois Hougaard’s slippery running around the base and his long service earned him a deserved man of the match award, but the man who did more than anyone in injecting energy into the Bok effort in the final quarter was the legendary Schalk Burger.

The Stormers player and former IRB World Player of the Year was everywhere, and he even won the lineout ball against the Aussie throw that eventually led to the Lambie try.

Teboho Mohoje can feel satisfied with a solid debut, but Burger, in his time on the field, reminded everyone just what a special player he is, and his time on the field in this game will surely be a prelude to him starting next week against the All Blacks.

Bismarck du Plessis was also a massive influence after he came on, as was Bakkies Botha, who was introduced for Duane Vermeulen, with Victor Matfield moving to the flank.

The Wallabies led 10-5 at halftime, and at that stage De Villiers must have been lamenting his inexplicable decision not to kick for posts from in front when there were three minutes to run until the break.

The Boks had scored a rolling-maul try off a lineout set up by a penalty earlier in the game, but this one was from right in front and the Wallabies had momentum. The Boks should have kicked it.

And it looked like it might cost the Boks when the time ticked down in that second half, with it looking likely to be an agonisingly close finish until the last 10 minutes of madness.

All the Australian points came within one minute of each other, with Bernard Foley kicking a penalty in the 25th minute and then big Tevita Kuridrani powered through an ineffectual tackle attempt from the Bok duo of Handre Pollard and Bryan Habana to send Adam Ashley-Cooper in for a try at the corner that Foley converted.

Foley did miss an early penalty attempt, Pollard missed a conversion and Lambie missed three place-kicks in his time on the field, so it wasn’t a great night for the kickers on what was a blustery early Cape Town spring evening.


South Africa - Tries: Marcel Coetzee, Jean de Villiers (2), Patrick Lambie. Penalty: Handre Pollard, Conversion: Patrick Lambie. Drop Goal: Pat Lambie.

Australia - Try: Adam Ashley-Cooper. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalty: Bernard Foley.

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