Australia walloped South Africa 30-17 to secure a Rugby Championship double over the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Len Ikitau and Marika Koroibete both bagged braces in Queensland as Australia reclaimed the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate, the 12th time the Wallabies have won the coveted trophy.
The Wallabies ran in four tries to one to all but hand the All Blacks the 2021 Rugby Championship title with two rounds to play.
It was another miserable night for the Boks, who once again did not have the right balance, and made too many errors.
Australia picked them off with four fantastic tries by their outside backs. The visitors scored a quality try of their own, but most of the game they ran down blind allies and crept across the field.
The home team’s defence found this easy to defend, shifting the opposition to the wide channels before a pass would be dropped, passed into touch, or the attacker tackled into touch.
Dave Rennie’s men dominated the breakdown, winning a series of try-saving turnovers inside their Red Zone.
Jacques Nienaber’s men had the better of the set-pieces, but could not exert their will on the opponent.
South Africa‘s defending left a lot to be desired. Although they only missed three tackles to 12 in the first half, the Wallabies scored twice from those mistakes.
Conversely, the Boks could not make the opposition pay for their mistakes as the handling errors mounted.
Faf de Klerk and Jasper Wiese both received yellow cards, while Lachlan Swinton also saw yellow for the men in gold.
Ikitau scored an eight-minute first-half brace to put the Wallabies ahead, while Koroibete – who could not score in Super Rugby – crossed twice in seven second-half minutes to break the Boks’ resolve.
Both scorers made more than 60 metres running; Ikitau (68m) beat two defenders from three line breaks on six runs, while Koroibete (66m) beat three defenders from one clean break on seven runs.
Quade Cooper, although not perfect from the tee, kicked two penalties and a conversion for another double-digit points haul.
Michael Hooper makes history for Wallabies
Hooper was again superb in all areas of the park and made history for his country.
The 29-year-old flanker surpassed the great George Gregan for the most Tests as Wallabies captain, leading the gold and green for the 60th time in his 112th Test.
Hooper’s groundwork was again a thorn in the opposition’s side.
He made 25 metres from four runs, topped the tackle count with 20 tackles, six more than Cooper’s 14, the second-highest of both teams.
Lukhanyo Am scored South Africa’s only try early in the second stanza.
Handre Pollard landed four first-half penalties, but the Boks did not add any points to their tally after Am’s 42nd-minute score.
Instead, Nienaber’s side wilted. Rennie’s men increased the pace and tempo, scoring twice in minutes to seal the deal and claim the bonus point.
South Africa has not won in Australia since 2013 and only won four Tests down under since 1996, which is a damning indictment for the three-time World Champions.
Things only get worse for the Boks, who have back-to-back Tests against New Zealand in the coming weeks.
Victory for Australia moves the Wallabies into third in the world rankings. The Boks stay first ahead of All Blacks, but that will change if the Kiwis beat Argentina.
Len Ikitau strikes twice in the first quarter to put the Wallabies on top after Faf De Klerk’s brain freeze
De Klerk’s 13th-minute yellow card for cynical play in the ruck cost his team 12 points, and the visitors had to always play catch-up.
Ikatau crossed twice and Cooper converted the second try to put the Aussies in control early in the contest.
The 22-year-old outside centre slipped Pollard and Marvin Orie’s weak tackles before diving over from close range.
The 2019 Rugby Championship defending champions had only conceded one try to a backline player since George Bridge’s try in the opening game of the 2019 World Cup when Andrew Kellaway crossed last week.
Australia scored four tries from backs to give Rennie’s side back-to-back Test victories for the first time of his troubled reign.
Pollard kicked his first penalty to make it 12-3 after 23 minutes, while the 29-year-old scrum-half was on the naughty step.
South Africa clawed their way back into the game through Pollard’s boot.
Pollard traded penalties with Cooper to make it 15-9 before Swinton had a red card downgraded to yellow for a dangerous and high no arms hit to Duane Vermeulen.
Tom Banks was lucky to not have been red-carded for a swinging arm to Sbu Nkosi’s head in the 28th-minute.
Banks, however, left the field with a suspected broken arm and was immediately taken to hospital.
Another Pollard goal reduced the gap back to three points just before halftime.
Swinton’s card cost his side eight points as the Boks took a 17-15 lead.
Nienaber’s charges took the lead straight after the interval when Am dotted down in the right-hand corner after chasing down De Klerk’s well-weighted grubber.
Pollard could not convert but the visitors led for the first time in the game; however, Cooper’s second penalty on 51 minutes put the Wallabies back ahead.
Marika Koroibete’s brace breaks the Boks’ backs
South Africa had their chances, but a mistake by Damian de Allende, trying to run out from his 22, saw Australia take a two-score advantage going into the last quarter.
De Allende’s knock-on led to a scrum on the right side of the field.
The Wallabies set up an attack before shifting the ball back to the blindside to Taniela Tupou.
Tupou charged forward, drew Nkosi before sending Koroibete away. The winger ran around to score next to the sticks, making Cooper’s conversion easier to kick.
Momentum shifted, and soon the game was out of South Africa’s reach when Korobeite beat prop Vincent Koch to score in the corner.
Pete Samu’s break into the 22 set up some quick ball for Tate McDermott.
McDermott went blind to Koroibete, who sped past Koch to score his 16th Test try and fourth versus the World Champions.
Cooper missed from the touchline, Wiese saw yellow, but it had no bearing on the outcome of the Test as the hosts held out for the win.
Final Score: Australia 30 (15) South Africa 17 (12)
Tries – Ikitau (2), Koroibete (2)
Pen – Cooper (2)
Con – Cooper (2)
Cards – Swinton (Yellow, 33′)
Tries – Am
Pen – Pollard (4)
Cards – De Klerk (Yellow, 13′), Wiese (Yellow, 79′)
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Ref 1: Luke Pearce (ENG)
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper (AUS)
TMO: Brett Cronan (AUS)
15 Tom Banks, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Jordan Petaia
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Mostert, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse