Australia and South Africa played out an entertaining but error-strewn 23-all draw at nib Stadium in Perth.
South Africa came back from a 20-10 deficit to lead by three with 12 minutes’ remaining. However, Foley levelled two minutes’ later before Jantjies’ drop goal, in the dying seconds, was charged down.
It was only the second stalemate between the two teams. Back in 2001 at the Subiaco Oval, the sides played out a 14-all draw.
This was a tight, tense affair on the Australian west coast, littered with handling errors and poor set piece play by the Wallabies.
Both teams scored two tries, while the boots of flyhalves Bernard Foley and Elton Jantjies, kept their sides in the hunt.
Each playmaker helped themselves to 10 points, kicking three penalties and two conversions apiece, however, Jantjies did miss a penalty and a drop goal, which proved the difference, in the end.
This was the ninth Test played in Western Australia between the two sides.
The Springboks had only won six times down under since readmission. Three victories have come on the west coast with one being drawn, sixteen years’ ago.
A happy hunting ground, so to speak, but all the results have been close. No side had won by more than seven points.
Foley and Jantjies exchanged penalties before Jesse Kriel scored to give the Boks lead.
However, Australia hit back immediately through Kurtley Beale and when Foley kicked the first of his five successful kicks, the scores were level.
South Africa was dominant at the breakdown, getting to the rucks faster than their opponents, winning penalties and turnovers.
The Bok scrum and lineout was also excellent, as they stole the ball from the Wallabies and pushed them off their own feeds.
Foley slotted a late penalty which gave his side the lead at half-time.
Within seven minutes of the restart, the home team had their second try. Tatafu Polota-Nau crashed over the whitewash after a magnificent driving maul. Foley’s conversion was good.
South Africa was not out of the Test despite trailing by 10 and soon, Jantjies reduced the deficit to seven when he kicked a 54th-minute penalty.
Five minutes’ later, the Bok forwards bulldozed the Wallaby pack, driving them 18 metres before Malcolm Marx flopped over the whitewash.
Jantjies added the extras and the scores were level, again going into the last quarter.
By now, the Springboks scrum was winning the set piece battle, and convincingly.
The Wallaby pack were creaking, giving the Boks good field position with a messy scrum, then conceding a penalty, which Jantjies slotted.
The Lions’ standoff’s kick gave his team the lead for the first time since before the break, but the Boks could not hold on to it.
Francois Hougaard was penalised for taking out Will Genia at the breakdown. Foley levelled with his fifth kick of the game; 23-all with less than nine minutes remaining.
The game was open towards the end, but in reality, South Africa should have won it. If it was not for some poor decision making, and Jantjies’ charged down attempted drop kick.
Somehow, the Australians managed to win the ball and began a counter-attack from their 22.
However, it came to nought and the match ended in the worst possible way for rugby players and fans; the dreaded draw.
Final Score: Australia 23 (13) South Africa 23 (10)
Tries – Beale, Polota-Nau
Pen – Foley (3)
Con – Foley (2)
Tries – Kriel, Marx
Pen – Jantjies (3)
Con – Jantjies (2)
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZR)
Assistant Ref 1: John Lacey (IRFU)
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams (NZR)
TMO: Ben Skeen (NZR)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodges, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenraad Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende