Rugby Championship News

South Africa beat Australia in Johannesburg



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South Africa have played Australia 87 times since 1933, the Springboks have won 47 matches, lost 37 times and drawn three.

The Springboks’ 47 wins give them a record of winning 54% of their games against the Wallabies regardless of venue.

  • South Africa have lost only one of their last five Tests against Australia; though, two of those meetings ended in a draw.
  • This Test match will be the 11th meeting between South Africa and Australia at Emirates Airline Park, the Springboks have won nine of the previous 10 clashes at the venue (L1).
  • South Africa have won only three of their last 10 games at The Rugby Championship (D2, L5), including a last-start 30-32 defeat to New Zealand.
  • South Africa have won 13 of their last 16 games played at Ellis Park.
  • The Boks have won their last three on the bounce, scoring an average of 36 points per game.
  • Australia will be looking to secure back-to-back wins at The Rugby Championship for the first time since 2016 after ending their 2018 campaign with a 45-34 win over Argentina.
  • Australia’s win-rate is 24% in South Africa. It is their lowest in any nation, and it is the lowest win-rate of any of the six countries to have played more than 20 Tests in the Republic.
  • South Africa have scored 22 drop goals in The Rugby Championship, as many as all three other teams combined (Australia 9, New Zealand 9, Argentina 4).
  • Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia) gained 397 metres in The Rugby Championship 2018, the most of any player and 130 more than South Africa’s best, Siya Kolisi (267).
  • Willie Le Roux produced the joint-most try assists (five, with Beauden Barrett) in The Rugby Championship 2018, three more than any Australian player.
  • Pieter-Steph du Toit made the most tackles (83) of any player in The Rugby Championship 2018, 33 more than the leading player in Australia’s 2019 squad Michael Hooper (50).

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

It has been an emotional week in South Africa with the passing of Springboks legend and World Cup winner James Small and the ‘White Zulu’ Johnny Clegg, one of the great South African musicians and social activist.

Small’s children walk out onto the field, applauded by the crowd, in tribute to their father before Clegg’s ‘Impi’ blasts out over the stadium tannoy.

The anthems are over and it is time for the game to begin.

In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEP! Referee Paul Williams from New Zealand gets us underway in the City of Gold for the opening Test match of the shortened Rugby Championship. Bernard Foley begins the 88th Test between the two teams.

3.00: Australia is moving towards South African’s 22 after winning the first lineout of the game. Folau Fainga’a’s one-hand offload ends up in a green jersey. The ball is sent to Warrick Gelant, but his kick is out on the full. There was no advantage for the knock-on, so the Boks have the first scrum.

5.00: Sekope Kepu slips, but he is not penalised, instead, the ref orders a reset. A kicking dual ensues before the Boks take the ball into contact around their 10m.

6.00: Herschel Jantjies’ box-kick leads to a penalty on the halfway line because Tom Banks obstructed the South African support runners. The Boks opt for the lineout on the Aussie’s 22.

8.00: The Wallabies steal the Boks’ first lineout after a poor Bongi Mbonambi throw. Foley restarts with a 22 drop-out.

10.00: The game is a little messy. The visitors have selected a big team to take on the physicality of the hosts and it is paying off at the breakdown and in the contact areas. Nic White’s accurate grubber pins the home side on their 5m.

11.00: TRY! André Esterhuizen crunches Foley in the midfield. The Aussies go wide, but the ball is stolen by Francois Louw and sent wide to Sibusiso Nkosi. The winger raced down the touchline, draws Banks before sending Herschel Jantjies away under the posts for a debut Test try. 5-0

12.00: CONVERSION! Elton Jantjies adds the extras. 7-0

15.00: South Africa are going through the phases and are into the Wallabies’ 22. The ball is lost and Australia clears their lines.

16.00: Rynhardt Elstadt is too slow to move away from the tackled player, coughing up a kickable penalty.

17.00: PENALTY! Foley puts his team on the scoreboard. 7-3

18.00: NO TRY! Lukhan Salakaia-Loto takes Samu Kerevi’s offload and bursts through to score his first Test try, but the TMO is called into play and deems the pass from Kerevi was forward.  7-3

21.00: YELLOW CARD! Esterhuizen is off to the naughty step for a dangerous tackle on Banks. Good call!

24.00: TRY! Herschel Jantjies races away from the gold defenders after gathering Pieter-Steph du Toit’s deft chip-kick. He is tackled short. The ball is recycled, the Boks have a couple of goes at the line before Lood de Jager crashes over. 12-3

25.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies slots the wide conversion. 14-3

27.00: Australia has good field position and the scrum inside the Boks’ 22.

29.00: TRY! Dane Haylett-Petty is over in the corner after a well-worked backline move and some quick ball from the ruck, by the Aussies. 14-8

31.00: CONVERSION! Foley reduces the deficit. 14-10

33.00: The Sprinboks are under the pump, Australia is all over them and almost score through Foley. Nkosi’s smart work on defence saved the day.

35.00: OH DEAR! Haylett-Petty knocks on over the try-line after chasing down Foley’s grubber. That should have been FIVE!

37.00: Australia has an attacking scrum on the Springboks five-metre. The scrum is reset.

38.00: Brilliant defensive work by Herschel Jantjies, tapping Isi Naisarani’s ankles. The No. 8 lost possession, but the ref allowed play to continue before Louw wins another penalty at the ruck.

40.00: The home team has a scrum as the clock moves into the red zone.

41.00: South Africa are trying to play when they should clear. They almost lose possession before finally booting the ball out.

The halftime score was South Africa 14 Australia 10

41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway in Johannesburg. There have been no changes to either team.

43.00: Both teams are struggling to control the contested high kicks, often losing possession. South Africa wins possession and is playing inside the Aussie’s half.

45.00: Warrick Gelant tries to make something happen from behind the gain line, but he runs behind Du Toit and is blown for obstruction. A quick-tap free-kick by White comes to nothing after a knock-on in contact.

48.00: White shoots out the line and almost intercepts a stray pass, instead, he knocks on giving the Boks an attacking scrum on the Wallabies’ 10m.

49.00: James Slipper is down after taking a shot from Eben Etzebeth’s knee. Lizo Gqoboka is on for his Springboks debut. The prop started every Super Rugby match for the Bulls, this season.

51.00: South Africa wins another scrum-penalty. Harry Johnson-Holmes, who has just come on is pinged for collapsing. Elton Jantjies, on his home ground, will take a long-range shot at goal.

52.00: MISS! Jantjies’ kick drops short under the posts. 14-10

53.00: Gelant’s clever kick behind Australia’s back three leads to an attacking lineout after Banks shanks the clearance.

54.00: South Africa wins a penalty from the resulting lineout. The ref is checking with the TMO for a cleanout by Taniela Tupou on Elstadt.

54.00: YELLOW CARD! Tupou is off for 10 minutes.

56.00: TRY! Nkosi finishes off a slick attack involving both forwards and backs to extend the Boks’ lead. 19-10

58.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies, from the corner, makes no mistake. 21-10

60.00: It’s all South Africa at the minute, they have the tourists under the pump.

62.00: TRY! Jantjies, a la Joost van der Westhuizen, breaks blind from a ruck inside the Wallabies’ 22 and dives in the corner for his second try of the game. 26-10

64.00: CONVERSION! It’s the Jantjies show as Elton converts Herschel’s try from the corner. 28-10

67.00: Australia cannot break the defensive line of their opponents, they look shattered.

69.00: The Wallabies have a defensive scrum inside their territory. It is reset a couple of times.

70.00: Penalty to the visitors, their first one from a scrum.

72.00: TRY! Foley dots down under the posts after Kurtley Beale’s magic in midfield. Beale broke the line and raced to the Boks’ 22 before drawing the cover defenders and sending Foley away for his 16th Test try. 28-15

73.00: CONVERSION! Foley converts his score. 28-17

75.00: South Africa’s intensity has gone, but Australia have too much ground to make up in this Test.

78.00: South Africa kick a penalty to the Wallabies’ 22; they want that bonus-point.

79.00: Vincent Koch wins a penalty at the breakdown, allowing the Boks to kick to the corner.

80.00: Another penalty is kicked to the corner.

81.00: TRY! Cobus Reinach darts through a gap and gets his team the much-needed bonus-point. 33-17

83.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies finishes with five from six. 35-17


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The final score is South Africa 35 (14) Australia 17 (10)


South Africa
Tries – H. Jantjies (2), De Jager, Nkosi, Reinach
Pen –
Con – E. Jantjies (5)
Drop –
Cards – Esterhuizen (Yellow, 21′)

Tries – D. Haylett-Petty, Foley
Pen – Foley
Con – Foley (2)
Drop –
Cards – Tupou (Yellow, 54′)

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams (NZR)
Assistant Ref 1: Matthew Carley (RFU)
Assistant Ref 2: Karl Dickson (RFU)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (RFU)


South Africa

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies (debut), 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt (debut), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka (debut), 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcel Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds.


15 Tom Banks, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani (debut), 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.

Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 Kurtley Beale.

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