John Smit’s Springboks have lurched from Tri-Nations heroes to zeroes as they plummeted to their third successive defeat on the road against a pumped-up Wallabies side in Brisbane.
The home side powered their way to a 30-13 victory to launch their 2010 campaign and made Smit’s side look anything but reigning champions. The Springboks have now suffered three defeats in the away leg of their title defence and sit at the bottom of the table without any points.
Indiscipline once again caused the South Africans trouble and they lost centre Jaque Fourie to the sin-bin within two minutes of the start for a dangerous dump tackle. Prop BJ Botha also saw yellow in the second half for killing the ball and the loss of Morne Steyn cost them dearly in the goalkicking stakes.
As for the Wallabies, it was almost the perfect start to their Tri-Nations season and their two tries could have extended into bonus point territory with slightly better handling. Nonetheless, they gave on-looking All Blacks coaches Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen plenty to think about ahead of their Bledisloe Cup meeting in Melbourne next weekend.
Matt Giteau recovered his poise with the boot to land a match winning five penalties and James O’Connor landed another to ensure the Boks were severely punished for their constant indiscretions.
Four Giteau penalties and a juggling try on the stroke of half-time from Drew Mitchell gave the home side a 17-3 interval lead. The lead was extended to 20 points with two more penalties, but that sparked a fightback from the visitors.
Fourie muscled his way over from close range and then a line-out take from Victor Matfield set-up a driving try for Guthro Steenkamp. Both conversions went wide and that was the end of the revival.
Will Genia sniped his way over from short range and an O’Connor conversion crowned a great day again for the Wallabies in Brisbane.
The Springboks now have to return home and regroup ahead of Smit’s likely 100th test appearance in their next outing.