Match winner: Tevita Kuridrani, Isreal Folau and Scott Fardy rejoice at full-time. Photo: Chris Hyde You beauty: The Wallabies celebrate as they watch a replay confirming Tevita Kuridrani had scored a controversial try at the end of their Rugby Championship match against South Africa’s Springboks in Brisbane. Photo: Reuters
Try time: Wallabies veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper celebrates scoring. Photo: Cameron Spencer
As it happened: Wallabies v SpringboksResult cannot hide shortcomings
Michael Cheika wanted his Wallabies to simply make the fans proud. They would do better than that after lifting themselves off the canvas to produce a morale-boosting, last-gasp victory over the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Just as it seemed like the punters would file out bemoaning a wonky scrum and a ravaged breakdown, the Wallabies surged back in the second half to win 24-20 on the back of a try to centre Tevita Kuridrani that scraped a solitary blade of grass after the full-time siren.
Captain Stephen Moore had directed Matt Giteau to kick for touch just minutes before but passed up another shot as the end loomed, sending it to the corner before Kuridrani barged over following a concerted series of raids on a quality Springboks defensive line.
It was a night when Cheika urged his players to grasp their opportunities and Kuridrani did that, providing a bold running target for Quade Cooper all night and being rewarded with the crucial play when the result was on the line.
The Wallaby bench was the difference in the end, with Scott Sio and Greg Holmes helping to stiffen the Wallaby scrum in the second half as the Springboks were forced to deal with injuries to lock Victor Matfield and flanker Marcell Coetzee.
James Horwill also impressed after replacing the underwhelming Will Skelton while David Pocock helped stop the rot at the breakdown and played strongly in tandem with Michael Hooper, who tackled himself to a standstill and made some huge defensive plays.
Phipps will start against the Pumas in Argentina after Will Genia limped off with a knee injury while Matt Toomua straightened the attack outside of Cooper, although Giteau was far from outclassed in his return to Wallaby colours.
Springboks backrower Francois Louw was superb and deserved to be in a winning outfit after another brilliant night where he terrorised the Wallabies in the contest for the ball.
If Cheika wanted commitment in defence he had only wait until the second minute to see some evidence, when Hooper and Scott Fardy combined to belt Schalk Burger on halfway and put the visitors on the back foot.
But some hounding work over the ball from Louw would swing the exchanges back in favour of the Springboks, who missed the early penalty after gaining valuable field position from Israel Folau’s over-zealous clearing kick.
Yet the signs were good for the Wallabies. Giteau was getting plenty of early touches and looked sharp and comfortable as a second play-making option. Cooper’s long passing was finding holes and Folau was beginning to threaten around the edges of play.
Sprinboks flyhalf Handre Pollard gave his side a 3-0 lead to start the scoring after a Wallaby scrum just survived a concerted Springboks push, only to see Hooper too eager from the line out and provide the penalty right in front of the posts.
South Africa took a hit in the 17th minute when captain Matfield left the field with a hamstring injury, before Pollard added another three points in the 26th minute after a Wallaby scrum hit reverse on the end of a powerful Springboks shove.
Adam Ashley-Cooper flew off an inside ball from Cooper to give the Wallabies a 7-6 lead but it was fleeting, with lock Eben Etzbeth smashing his way over in the corner to make it 13-7 at the break.
The bad news kept coming as Genia limped his way into the sheds with a knee injury, handing the reins to Phipps, who wasn’t much more than a bystander as debutant Jesse Kriel torched the Wallaby defence with a superb run that stretched the lead to 20-7.
A Cooper penalty pegged back the deficit to 10 and Hooper would power over on the back of a Wallaby scrum that found a second wind in the second half as both sides rung the changes.
It took a bold call from Moore to go for the win instead of direct Giteau to take a shot at goal but it paid off. It was just reward for a man whose first stint as Wallaby captain lasted just a few minutes before being felled by a serious knee injury.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.