Mon, Aug 10, 2009 - Page 19 News List

'Boks juggernaut crushes Wallabies

RUCKING ROLL: The Tri-Nation hosts maintained their 100 percent record against Australia in South Africa with a win that put them eight points clear of New Zealand

AFP , CAPE TOWN

Australia’s Matt Giteau makes an illegal tackle on South Africa’s Fourie du Preez, right, in their Tri-Nations match in Cape Town on Saturday. South Africa won 29-17.

PHOTO: REUTERS

The South African juggernaut rolled on in the Tri-Nations championship on Saturday with a late Morne Steyn penalty sealing a 29-17 triumph over Australia at Newlands.

Fly-half Steyn kicked 24 points from seven penalties and a drop goal while lock Victor Matfield crossed for a try as the Springboks went eight points clear of New Zealand in the table with Australia a further three behind.

Fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper and fly-half Matt Giteau crossed the tryline, with the latter converting both, and center Berrick Barnes dropped a goal for the visitors who turned over 23-10 behind.

The result completed a run of three home victories in as many weeks for South Africa after convincingly defeating fiercest rivals the All Blacks in Bloemfontein and Durban.

After scoring an early try, Australia were rocked by setbacks, including the 30th-minute departure of injured skipper and center Stirling Mortlock and yellow cards for Giteau and flanker Richard Brown within 60 seconds.

Long-serving flanker George Smith was also dismissed to the ?in bin,?a minute from full-time, as Australia failed again on the road, having lost by six points to New Zealand in the championship opener three weeks ago.

The southern hemisphere tournament was set to take a one-week break before Australia host defending champions New Zealand in Sydney on Aug. 22 followed by two home fixtures against the Springboks.

Bok skipper and tighthead prop John Smit singled out Matfield.

?e puts in so much hard work on the training ground and watching videos. Victor is a special talent and we must listen and learn from him,?he said.

Official man-of-the-match Matfield shared the praise.

?n Bakkies [Botha], Juan [Smith] and Pierre [Spies] we have three other really competitive 衍ineout jumpers. The teamwork and spirit in this team is awesome.?Coach Peter de Villiers had mixed feelings.

?t is half-time for us in the Tri-Nations and we have three wins out of three, but we must become more clinical. Scoring more tries would be nice, but wins come first,?he said.

George Smith had only praise for the Boks: ?hey have a simple game plan and it is very efficient. When you are on the retreat [in the loose], they flood through.?br />

Australia gave the capacity 49,000 crowd an early jolt by taking a second-minute lead when Ashley-Cooper dotted down in the corner for a try Giteau converted.

But as pressure gradually mounted on the Wallabies, they committed frequent infringements and were severely punished by Steyn, who kicked three penalties to edge the green and gold into a 9-7 lead.

Barnes put the visitors ahead again 60 seconds later as he picked up a pass from loose play and struck a sweet drop goal.

Irish referee Alain Rolland warned both captains as the penalty count rose and another Aussie transgression presented Steyn with the chance he gladly took to slot a fourth penalty and nudge the world champions in front.

Steyn dropped a goal soon after and the increasingly dominant Springboks were 15-10 ahead as they applied the same pressure game plan that worked so well against the All Blacks.

That lead was stretched to 10 points on 28 minutes as Matfield, partnering Botha for the 50th time, raced on to a Smit grubber kick and touched down.

Australia were reduced to 13 men within 60 seconds late in the opening half as Giteau got a yellow card amid a chorus of booing for a late tackle on Fourie du Preez and Brown followed after being caught in a blatant offside position.

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