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Australia ended a six match losing streak and earned their first Rugby Championship victory by beating South Africa 23-17 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The victory also ends Australia longest losing run (four matches) on home soil since 1968.
Australia remain in last place however as Argentina and South Africa both earned losing bonus point in their earlier losses while South Africa earn a second losing bonus point from this contest.
South Africa scored the opening try in the third minute and held the lead through to half time where they led 13-14.
Both teams scored two tries each and the difference came down to discipline and penalty kicks with Bernard Foley kicking three penalties and Morne Steyn kicking one.
Foley scored a total of 18 points in the match through his three penalties, a try and two conversion.
In front of a crowd of 30,327, the game was full of end-to-end Rugby and both sides were adventurous in attack with the Australian halves pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper in particular lighting up the field.
Ultimately, it was the Wallabies committed defence that saw them hold on to the lead, as they halted South Africa on their line on several occasions and forced crucial turnovers.
Wallabies Captain Stephen Moore said: “It’s been a long while since our last win. We’ve had a good week and it’s a good feeling to get over the line. I feel happy for our supporters who have stuck with us through a tough time, and I want to thank them.”
“The Springboks played well tonight. It’s always a tough game against South Africa. We had a lot of opportunities and made a few mistakes but we’re happy to get our first win of 2016.”
The Wallabies moved the ball well in the opening stanzas of the game but two errors cost Australia dearly with South Africa capitalising on the mistakes to score two runaway tries to take an early 3-14 lead in Brisbane.
Despite the deficit, Australia persevered and continued to attack the Springbok line. Their dedication was repaid when Adam Coleman scored his first Test try for Australia when he dived over the line in the corner. Foley’s sideline conversion brought Australia within range of South Africa, and another Foley penalty that followed lifted the score to 13-14 at half time.
The start of the second half saw the Wallabies take the lead for the first time in the match when South Africa again infringed at the breakdown and referee Nigel Owen sent Eben Etzebeth to the sin bin. Foley’s penalty attempt was successful and took the score to 16-14.
With only 14 opponents on the field, the Wallabies continued to mount pressure but an attempt at the tryline from Samu Kerevi fell just short, with the TMO declaring “no try”. The score was still locked at 16-14 by the time Etzebeth returned to the field.
Australia’s attack on South Africa continued with the Wallabies forwards providing an excellent platform with a dominant scrum and consistent work at the breakdown as they advanced on South Africa’s line. After an impressive 18 phases in attack, Bernard Foley crossed for Australia’s second try taking the score to 23-14.
As the clock edged closer to full time, the Springboks rallied and brought the difference to within a converted try when Morne Styen kicked a penalty to take the score to 23-17.
With both sides playing with a frenetic intensity, the final few minutes saw some exciting attacking from both sides, but the composed defensive line from Australia held on to secure the Wallabies’ first Test win of 2016.
Next week in the fourth week Australia host Argentina in Perth while South Africa move on to play New Zealand’s All Blacks in Christchurch.
Final Score Australia 23 (13) South Africa 17 (14)
Tries – A.Coleman, B.Foley
Pen – B.Foley 3
Con – B.Foley 2
Tries – W.Whiteley, J.Goosen
Pen – M.Steyn
Con – E.Jantjies 2
Cards – E.Etzebeth (41st min yellow)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Ref 1:Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Ref 2:Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO : Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore (c),3. Sekope Kepu ,4. Kane Douglas,5. Adam Coleman ,6. Dean Mumm ,7. Michael Hooper,8. David Pocock ,9. Will Genia ,10. Quade Cooper ,11. Reece Hodge ,12. Bernard Foley ,13. Samu Kerevi,14. Dane Haylett-Petty ,15. Israel Folau ,
Replacements: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau , 17. James Slipper, 18. Allan Alaalatoa , 19. Rory Arnold , 20. Sean McMahon , 21. Nick Phipps , 22. Tevita Kuridrani , 23. Drew Mitchell
15 Johan Goosen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Lourens Adriaanse 2 Adriaan Strauss (capt), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements : 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Morne Steyn, 23, Lionel Mapoe
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