Rugby Championship News

Rugby Championship: Springboks, Wallabies draw again




Elton Jantjies missed a last-minute penalty as the Springboks and the Wallabies drew 27-all  in the Rugby Championship at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.

The result ensures New Zealand retains the Rugby Championship, winning the tournament for the fifth time in six years.

This is the second stalemate between the teams this season after the 23-all draw in Perth.

In the build-up to Jantjies’ missed attempted game-winner, the officials missed a forward pass from Andries Coetzee, which led to the penalty.

Michael Cheika, his team and Wallabies supporters will feel that justice was done when the kick sailed wide.

South Africa and Australia have a knack for playing out tight, entertaining games, which usually, but not always end with a home win.

This was the fifth time that the countries had met in the Free State; the previous four encounters saw both win two and lose two.

In 2010, Kurtley Beale kicked a last-gasp 55-metre penalty as the Wallabies won 39-41. This time it was South Africa’s chance to win the game at the death, but it was not to be.

The teams shared six tries, four in a frenetic opening 16 minutes of the second-half. Marika Koroibete grabbed a 10-minute second-half brace to go with Israel Folau’s first-half score.

South Africa’s tries came from Ruan Dreyer, Jan Serfontein and Courtnall Skosan.

Bernard Foley and Jantjies shared three conversions and two penalties, but it was the Bok flyhalf’s 79th-minute penalty miss that was the difference.

Allister Coetzee’s men dominated most of the statistics but only managed to lead twice during the match, as the opposition answered every score with a rebuttal.

Australia led by three at halftime despite having less than 40 percent possession and territory in this thrilling contest in the City of Roses.

South Africa won more rucks, more mauls, beat more defenders, made more offloads and had more scrums and lineouts, yet was profligate in attack and sloppy in defence.

The hosts started the match with a 10-phase play that saw them shift the ball wide at every opportunity, as they would do for most of the game.

It seemed the game plan was to try run Australia ragged in the early stages and let the altitude of the Highveld take its toll on the visitors in the final 20 minutes.

But it was the Aussies who struck the first blow. From a scrum inside the Springboks’ 22, they scored from the first-phase ball.

Foley drifted wide, drawing Serfontein, before passing on his inside shoulder to Folau, who burst through a huge gap.

The fullback beat Jesse Kriel’s weak tackle and sped away to score under the posts.

Foley, playing his 50th Test match, passed 500 international points with the conversion of the 11th-minute try.

However, South Africa hit back when Dreyer crashed over for his first Test try.

From a driving maul, the Springboks forwards went through a series of pick-and-goes, punching holes in the gold wall.

The quick ball had the Aussies back peddling and eventually, the pressure told. Dreyer gathered, was tackled but not held, before getting up and diving over the whitewash.

Jantjies levelled the scores with the easy conversion.

Both sides had their chances, but poor finishing and tactics kept the teams neck-and-neck

South Africa was getting traction in the scrums but, as has been the case all season, were struggling with their lineout, often throwing to the front to eliminate any errors.

Jantjies and Foley traded kicks as the teams went tit-for-tat in infringements at the breakdown and high tackles.

Francois Louw, back from England, and packing down at No 8 on the defensive scrums, was excellent.

He came close on the half hour, but his break was squandered when Malcolm Marx threw a loose pass when possession was the preferred option.

Australia made mistakes of their own. Michael Hooper turned down a shot at goal with the scores tied at 10-all; Foley then kicked too deep and beyond the dead-ball line while trying for the corner flag.

Sekope Kepu’s knock-on with his team on the attack inside the Bok 22, was another squandered chance.

The visitors kept going and, eventually, got the upper-hand in the scrums when Dreyer was pinged for collapsing. Foley made no mistake, sending his team into the shed with the lead.

It was helter-skelter after the break, both sides came out firing, scoring two tries apiece inside the third quarter.

Koroibete scored twice in quick succession after the restart, while the Boks scored through Serfontein and Skosan, as they kept pace.

Serfontein’s try came after Siya Kolisi ran over Beale before playing Skosan.

The winger raced down the touchline and managed to get a pass away to the centre, who powered over for the score, and the lead.

Two minutes’ later, Foley handed off Kolisi and charged into the Boks’ 22 before releasing Koroibete, who sped past Skosan to score under the poles.

The Lions winger got his revenge moments’ later. Serfontein held off Adam Coleman, popped to Skosan, who carried Foley and Beale with him over the try-line.

Jantjies’ second conversion made it 24-20 with half an hour to play.

The lead was short-lived.

Australia marched the Springboks down the field with some patient build-up play and smart work at the breakdown.

They pushed and pulled their opponents all over the field before the gaps opened and space became available.

Foley saw that his team had the numbers out wide, throwing a long skip-pass to Koroibete, which beat Dillyn Leyds and Ross Cronje.

All the winger had to do was beat Cronje’s attempted tackle and score in the corner.

The Aussie standoff slotted the touchline conversion, giving his team a 24-27 lead going into the last quarter.

The final 20 minutes would be crucial, especially in the Highveld because the thin, dry air burns the lungs and the lactic acid in the legs starts to make the legs feel heavy.

Jantjies levelled the scores at 27-all in the 70th-minute with his second penalty of the afternoon after some great work at the breakdown from Trevor Nyakane.

Australia dug deep, somehow defying the altitude, finding the strength and energy to launch one last attack.

Cronje stopped Tevita Kuridrani short of the goal-line as Australia searched for a winner.

However, the home team kept them out, leading to the hosts launching a final surge. In the build-up, referee Ben O’Keeffe and his assistants missed the most blatant forward pass.

Coetzee’s pass to Skosan travelled forwards in the air from South Africa’s 10-metres line, and then rolled forwards, halfway between the 10 and halfway line after it landed.

Koroibete was penalised, giving the Boks a sniff, but Jantjies’ missed the easy penalty and the chance of victory.

Final Score: South Africa 27 (10) Australia 27 (13)


South Africa
Tries – Dreyer, Serfontein, Skosan
Pen – Jantjies (2)
Con – Jantjies (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Folau, Koroibete (2)
Pen – Foley (2)
Con – Foley (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 1: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant Ref 2: Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)


South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 5 Francois Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende


15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Ned Hanigan, 21 Lukhan Tui, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi

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