Springboks off and running
July 28, 2001
South Africa notched their first win of the 2001 Vodacom Tri-Nations with a gutsy 20-15 win over the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Bob Skinstad's men showed great determination and solid defence to deny the brilliant Australian backline an opportunity to cross the tryline throughout the match, while their discipline was also much improved. The visitors only managed their first points via a penalty early in the second half.
As predicted, the recalled Braam van Straaten played a key role in the match, slotting five out of six kicks at goal to keep the Boks in the lead from start to finish. Opposite number Matthew Burke struggled in the first half, but threatened to spoil the home side's party with a succession of impressive kicks.
However, the key moment in the match came a couple of minutes before the halftime break when captain Skinstad dived over in the corner for the only try of the match. After a sustained period of pressure, the Boks finally managed to carve a hole in the solid Wallaby defence, when the No 8 ran onto a flip pass from Joost van der Westhuizen.
His path to the tryline was made all the much easier as lock David Giffin, who was supposed to fill the gap, was busy giving centre Robbie Fleck a beating. He managed to escape punishment, but his ill-discipline effectively cost them the game.
The Boks will take heart from this impressive performance, particularly the effort of Man of the Match Conrad Jantjes at fullback. The Lions star was cool under pressure and didn't put a foot wrong all night. Lukas van Biljon also continued his brilliant form - his barnstorming runs keeping the home side's momentum going forward.
The South Africans will leave for Australasia feeling much more confident, knowing they have the forwards to compete with any team, while the backs are also coming the party after a bit of a let down at the start of the international season.
South Africa - Try: Bob Skinstad; Penalties: Braam van Straaten (5).
Australia - Penalties: Matt Burke (4), Manny Edmonds.
First Half: 3-0 Van Straaten penalty (11th minute); 6-0 Van Straaten penalty (13th); 9-0 Van Straaten penalty (21st); 14-0 Skinstad try (40th).
Second Half: 14-3 Burke penalty (2nd minute); 14-6 Burke penalty (6th); 17-6 Van Straaten penalty (9th); 17-9 Burke penalty (10th); 17-12 Burke penalty (19th); 20-12 Van Straaten penalty (34th); 20-15 Edmonds penalty (40th).
South Africa: Conrad Jantjes, Breyton Paulse, Robbie Fleck, Braam van Straaten, Dean Hall, Butch James, Joost van der Westhuizen, Bob Skinstad (capt), Andre Venter, Andre Vos, Mark Andrews, Johann Ackermann, Cobus Visagie, Lukas van Biljon, Robbie Kempson
Substitutes: John Smit (Van Biljon 70th), Ollie le Roux (Kempson 65th), Corne Krige (Vos 35th), Johann van Niekerk (Ackermann 70th), Neil de Kock, Deon Kayser, Thinus Delport.
Australia: Matthew Burke, Andrew Walker, Daniel Herbert, Nathan Grey, Joe Roff, Elton Flatley, George Gregan, Toutai Kefu, George Smith, Owen Finegan, John Eales (capt), David Giffin, Rod Moore, Michael Foley, Nick Stiles
Substitutes: Brendan Cannon, Ben Darwin (Moore 60th), Matt Cockbain (Giffin 56th), David Lyons (Kefu 75th), Chris Whitaker, Manny Edmonds (Flatley 70th), Chris Latham (Burke 75th).
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action