Boks stumble to slaughter

2010-07-26 00:00

THE colours had changed from black to gold, but it was the same old story at Suncorp Stadium at the weekend as the Wallabies took a leaf out of the All Black book and ran the Springboks ragged in fashioning a 30-13 Tri-Nations win.

It was an action replay of the Boks’ defeats in Auckland and Wellington where the Boks were also outpaced and outsmarted by a younger, sharper, hungrier team after losing a player early on to a yellow card.

This time the Boks did lift themselves in the second half to share the try count at 2-2, but the damage was done in the first half. The Wallabies, playing direct rugby and punching holes around the fringes of the rucks and mauls as the Boks fell off tackles, forced a string of penalties, and Matt Giteau booted his team into the clear.

The Wallabies led 17-3 at the break, but they butchered several scoring opportunities and, had their finishing been sharper, they would have been out of sight.

Giteau kicked five penalties as the Wallabies led 23-3 before the Springboks crossed in the 62nd and 72nd minutes with centre Jaque Fourie, after a tap penalty, and prop Gurthro Steenkamp, following a superbly worked lineout drive, to get back to 23-13 with eight minutes remaining.

Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar missed both angled conversions — kicks that would have brought the Boks back to within seven points — and it was left to Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia to dash over close to a ruck in the 75th minute to settle the contest.

The defeat, another in Brisbane where they have not won since 1971, saw the Boks concede 93 points in three losses on the road, and they failed by some distance to pick up any bonus points. Their disastrous Tri-Nations defence is over before they have even played their three home games.

The Springboks again had problems with inconsistent refereeing and, had the Test been closer, it would have been a factor. Certainly the yellow-carding by referee George Clancy of prop BJ Botha at the breakdown, when Wallaby flank David Pocock was a regular, more blatant offender, was laughable.

But complaints about the referee should not obscure the fact that the Boks, slower and defensively fragile, were thoroughly outplayed.

The Bok front-row of Botha, John Smit and Gurthro Steenkamp stood up strongly to the Wallabies, who last year made a mess of the South African pack. And the lineout work, apart from one throw which gifted the Wallabies a try by Drew Mitchell, was secure. But away from the set pieces, the Wallabies were slicker and more organised, quicker to the breakdown and more resolute in their tackling.

Rocky Elsom had a superb evening on attack and defence while Genia, Quade Cooper and Giteau kept sniping and probing close to the forwards, keeping the Boks on the backfoot.

The Boks seem mentally and physically exhausted and lacked cohesion, skill and structure in defence. They arrived at the breakdown in dribs and drabs and they again gifted the Wallabies possession from inaccurate kicks that they failed to chase down. And, across the park, they are short of pace. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar battled behind a pack that had little momentum. We heard the same refrain at both Auckland and Wellington.

This is a badly coached Springbok team.

SCORERS

Australia 30 South Africa 13 (H-t: 17-3).

Australia — Tries: Drew Mitchell, Will Genia. Conversion: James O’Connor. Penalties: Matt Giteau (5), O’Connor.

South Africa — Tries: Jaque Fourie, Gurthro Steenkamp. Penalty: Morne Steyn.

RESULTS

At Auckland: New Zealand 32 South Africa 12.

At Wellington: New Zealand 31 South Africa 17

At Brisbane: Australia 30 South Africa 13

Remaining fixtures:

July 31 - Australia v New Zealand, Melbourne

August 7 - New Zealand v Australia, Christchurch

August 21 - South Africa v New Zealand, Johannesburg

August 28 - South Africa v Australia, Pretoria

September 4 - South Africa v Australia, Bloemfontein

September 11 - Australia v New Zealand, Sydney

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