Springboks beat Australia 24-8 in Rugby Championship match

·3-min read

SYDNEY (AP) — South Africa defeated Australia 24-8 on Saturday to leave the Rugby Championship title wide open after four matches by each team.

The Springboks turned in a flawless display highlighted by a dazzling debut try for 19-year-old winger Canan Moodie, and the title is up for grabs after New Zealand’s 53-3 win over Argentina earlier on Saturday.

The Wallabies will now head into their two-test Bledisloe Cup series against New Zealand with all four sides on 2-2 records after four games, with the All Blacks leading the standings by one point having netted two bonus-point wins.

Coming off a strong win over the World Cup-champion Springboks a week ago in Adelaide, the Wallabies again failed to back up victory with another solid display, still yet to win back-to-back games this season.

"I don't know about one (step) forward, two (steps) back . . . it's a tough competition, you've got to be at your best every week to be in with a sniff," Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said. “Clearly that's been a big part of our mantra, we have an understanding we're playing for something bigger than ourselves and there's no shortage of motivation and certainly no shortage of belief. We've got to win those key moments.”

They were down early as the Springboks capped a dominant opening nine minutes. Damian de Allende scored under the posts with the damage doubled due to Wallabies lock Matt Philip’s sin-binning for a foul.

But the Springboks saved the big celebrations for Moodie’s first test try after he soared above Marika Koroibete to take a towering Jaden Hendrikse kick and raced away to score, putting his side 12-3 ahead close to halftime.

In the second half, Franco Mostert finished a sweeping team move, while winger Makazole Mapimpi completed the scoring when he crossed for a try on 72 minutes.

The Wallabies’ only points came from a first-half penalty and a late consolation try for Pete Samu.

“Another week of poor discipline, we spoke about that a lot this week and that’s the most disappointing thing, putting ourselves under pressure like that,” Wallabies captain James Slipper said.

“It just felt like we didn’t play much rugby. We didn’t fire a shot. We knew what type of game it was going to be, big set-piece and kicking game, they were just dropping bombs on us all night and we got stuck down there."

Springboks center Jesse Kriel said his team had played an “awesome game."

“I think that the boys pitched up. We spoke about it this week, we really want to get one past the Wallabies over here in Australia," Kriel said. “We have been struggling in the past couple of years. They are a quality team and showed that last week. Defensively we stood up and we knew what we could do with ball in hand.”

South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber praised his team for using its opportunities.

“Last week we created opportunities and didn’t take them and that was better tonight,” said Nienaber. “We also weren’t happy with the intensity last week and are pleased that we also made a big step-up in that regard.”

It was the Springboks' first win over the Wallabies in Australia since a 38-12 victory in 2013.

“We have played here five times as a group and this is the first time we have won, and we are very pleased that we could change our fortunes here,” Nienaber said.


More AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports