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South Africa vs Australia
The Rugby Championship, 1 October, 2017
|Fulltime - South Africa 27, Australia 27|
|Referee: Ben O'keeffe|
|Touch judges: Jerome Garces & Shuhei Kubo|
|TMO: Rowan Kitt|
The Wallabies and Springboks have played out their second draw in as many matches. The 27-27 scoreline befitting of a wonderful game of international rugby.
The game started at a frantic pace, and that kept up throughout the game. The very first action of the match was a 10 phase rumble from the Springboks who looked intent on holding the ball and throwing it round – Fijian style!
Despite having none of the early possession or any territory, it was the Wallabies who registered first points through none other than Israel Folau. The set move off a 22m scrum saw the fullback register his 11th try for the season, a new record for a Wallaby in an international season – surpassing the previous mark of 10 set by Lote Tuquiri.
Kurtley Beale nearly won it for the visitors in the 75th minute when he busted a tired Boks line, but Sean McMahon’s knock on 5m out saw a reprieve for the hosts.
Elton Jantjies had a penalty in the 79th minute, but couldn’t knock it over, and that’s how the score remained. 27-27 in one of the best matches in recent memory.
The Wallabies will be looking to win back to back games when they take on the wounded Springboks, who fell to their heaviest ever defeat at the hands of a fired up All-Blacks outfit last start. Join The Roar for a live blog of the match from 1:05am AEST.
Round five of the Rugby Championship sees a lot at stake for both sides. The Wallabies, who have shown as much promise as they have frustrated, will be looking to record back to back victories after their last start win over a dogged Pumas outfit.
Cheika’s men, and Wallabies fans alike, have been continually frustrated at the Wallabies inability to string together a consistent 80-minute performances.
In every match that they’ve played this Rugby Championship, they’ve gone through periods of dominating games, and despite being desperately unlucky not to record a win in Dunedin, their inconsistency, and tendency to “go to sleep” for extended periods of matches, has hurt the Australians massively.
The Springboks, on the other hand, are at their lowest point. A 57-0 capitulation to the All Blacks last week was listless, uninspiring, and left a lot of unanswered questions as to the state of rugby in South Africa.
However, beware the wounded Springbok! They hop fast and frantic, and Coetzee’s men are perhaps at their most dangerous when their backs are against the wall.
Yes, they lost to the Wallabies last time they played them in Bloemfontein, however their overall Head to Head record at Free State Stadium spells trouble for the visitors.
In team news, Michael Cheika has turned to his inexperienced bench to fill starting vacancies.
Jack Dempsey and Izack Rodda earn their first starts in the Green and Gold, pushing Ned Hanigan and Rob Simmons to the bench. Lekhan Tui is also set to debut off the pine.
In the backs, Reece Hodge comes on to a wing, with Marika Koroibete taking his place on the other.
The Springboks have made few changes to the 23 that tackled the All Blacks, Ross Cronje returns at scrumhalf, while Dillyn Lleyds starts on the right wing in pursuit of better finishing, and pace out wide.
Where the game will be won
The set piece. The Springboks were awful at line out time against the Kiwis, and not much better in the scrum.
If they can sort the issues that plagued them a fortnight ago, this will solve most of the problems they faced in that loss.
The Wallabies have been (in patches) surprisingly strong at scrum time, and could use this to their advantage in the early exchanges.
Whichever side can get clean front foot ball to their outside backs will win this one.
I want so badly to say the Wallabies, and I think they’ll give this game a major shake up.
However, the Boks record at home is irresistible and I think they’ll be deeply embarrassed and looking to make amends from their last match.
Don’t rule out a 55m penalty from Reece Hodge to win it, though.
Boks by 5
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