By Barry Ross at ANZ Stadium
WILL GENIA and a sick Quade Cooper dazzled the Springboks and the fans, as the Wallabies bounced back from their shock loss to Samoa just six days beforehand.
Genia exploited the South Africans’ poor defence around the breakdown, making several breaks down the blindside and also firing quick, long and accurate passes to Cooper on the openside. Cooper had suffered from a virus in the days leading up to the clash, but his class and combination with Genia created many opportunities for the eager Wallabies.
The Australians scored their first try after only seven minutes and it was a beauty.
From a ruck just 15 metres out from the Australian line, Genia sent a long ball out to Cooper who dummied to kick. Thinking he could charge down the kick, Ruan Pienaar raced up quickly from the defensive line and in a twinkling, Cooper stepped past the Springbok to burst into the clear.
After running to the Australian 40 metre line, Cooper found his close friend, Kurtley Beale, inside with a crisp pass and he passed to James O'Connor, who was tackled 15 metres out but Genia was at the ruck to find Pat McCabe in midfield with a beautiful long pass.
McCabe quickly moved the ball on to Stephen Moore who used another long ball to his captain, Rocky Elsom. Despite the attentions of Flip van der Merwe and Ashley Johnson, Elsom produced a slick, short pass to the unmarked Ben Alexander, who crossed unopposed.
Playing his first test since November 2009, James Horwill took the South African kickoff 18 metres out from his tryline.
After getting quick ball from the ruck, Genia spotted the lack of defence on the short side and quickly speared between South African front-rowers, Dean Greyling and captain John Smit. Nearing halfway, Genia found Ioane with a clever inside pass and the winger burst through Gio Aplon’s tackle and pushed off Morné Steyn, before diving over for the well-taken five-pointer.
Tries to O'Connor, Moore and Adam Ashley-Cooper, in the first 15 minutes of the second half, saw the Australians leading 39-6. At this stage they probably took their foot off the pedal and the visitors picked up two converted tries in the final 20 minutes. The Wallabies finished with five tries to two, but they could easily have scored another four.
A noticeable feature of the game was the Springboks’ lack of physicality, particularly at the breakdown. When asked about this at the after-match media conference, Smit agreed, but wouldn't comment any further.
“We lost the battle at the breakdown,” he says.
There were many positives for coach Robbie Deans from the win. O’Connor's goalkicking was excellent and he finished with six from seven, including three great strikes from the sidelines.
Ashley-Cooper was much better than against Samoa, both in attack and defence, while Beale added plenty of attacking options. The forwards all did well, with Moore deserving his try. In defence, Deans often used Ioane at first five and this allowed Cooper to move to the backfield, where his skills can combine with O'Connor and Beale to provide outstanding counter-attacking opportunities.
Springboks coach Peter de Villiers lamented the mistakes his team made.
“If you don't look after your ball, that's what happens,” he says.
The coach added that it was not by choice so many of his top players stayed in South Africa: “I hope our new players learnt a lesson tonight as to what is required to play test rugby.”
South Africa has not won in Sydney since July 1993, when they beat the Wallabies 19-12 at the Sydney Football Stadium.
They have now lost all of their five tests at the 2000 Olympic Stadium, now ANZ Stadium.
Tries: Alexander, Ioane, O’Connor, Moore, Ashley-Cooper
Cons: O’Connor (4)
Pens: O’Connor (2)
Tries: Ralepelle, Smit
Cons: Lambie (2)
Pens: Steyn (2)
Halftime: 15-6 Wallabies« Back to Articles
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