The Springboks claimed a comfortable 28-8 victory against the Wallabies at Newlands but couldn't score four tries for a bonus point, reports SIMON BORCHARDT at Newlands.
The three-try win takes the Boks to 18 points on the log, the same as the All Blacks, who play Argentina in La Plata later tonight. Hopefully the Pumas can do the Boks a favour and, at the very least, deny the world champions a bonus point. Whatever happens, though, the Castle Rugby Championship title will only be decided at Ellis Park next Saturday.
Despite saying during the week that they would not be chasing a bonus point from the outset, the Boks turned down a kickable penalty as early as the third minute. They won the resultant lineout, but lost possession soon afterwards and came away with nothing.
The first time the Wallabies were awarded a kickable penalty, they took the points.
Morné Steyn got the Boks on the board with a penalty soon after, only to kick for the corner again when another opportunity presented itself. This time, though, it paid off, with the Boks winning the lineout and Fourie du Preez putting Adriaan Strauss over.
The Boks struck again from the restart when they attacked from inside their half and went wide to JJ Engelbrecht, whose inside pass sent Zane Kirchner away. Steyn kicked both conversions and then added a penalty to make it 20-3 after 20 minutes.
The Wallabies' woes were compounded when Michael Hooper was yellow carded for a 'dangerous tackle' on Eben Etzebeth, but the Boks could score only three points while he was off.
In fact, while the Boks led by 20 at the break, they would have been far from satisfied with their performance. Two kicks were put directly into touch, by Steyn and Willie le Roux, Steyn missed touch with a penalty and Du Preez sent a long pass into the stands.
The Boks were also reduced to 14 men just before half-time when Flip van der Merwe was yellow-carded for elbowing Joe Tomane in the face while going into the tackle. That saw Le Roux scrumming down at flank early in a second half that was as error-ridden as the first.
Both coaches turned to their benches for inspiration, with Will Genia replacing the out-of-sorts Nic White at half-time, and Heyneke Meyer bringing on Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Juandré Kruger, Siya Kolisi and Jan Serfontein before the 60-minute mark.
But it was the Wallabies who began to put some pressure on a Bok team that was fast running out of time to score another two tries. And their task became even tougher when Vermeulen was sent to the sin-bin for an intentional knock-down inside his 22.
However, the Boks struck with 14 men when Le Roux dived over in the right-hand corner with nine minutes to go.
The Wallabies then also lost a man when Tomane was yellow-carded for going into a ruck from the side with a shoulder, but responded with a consolation try by Chris Feauai-Sautia.
That left the Boks with a minute and a half to score a fourth try, but they were bundled into touch with time up and had to be satisfied with the four points.
Springboks – Tries: Adriaan Strauss, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux. Conversions: Morné Steyn (2). Penalties: Steyn (3).
Wallabies – Try: Chris Feauai-Sautia. Penalty: Christian Leali'ifano.
Springboks – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images
‘Pick Coleman for final’
What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the past weekend's Currie Cup semi-finals.
What we’ve learned
Five lessons from the Currie Cup semi-finals, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.
Catrakilis still the man for WP
Demetri Catrakilis represents WP’s best chance of winning the Currie Cup title at Newlands this Saturday, writes JON CARDINELLI.