South Africa secured their biggest win on Australian soil and their first in five attempts when they tore their hosts apart in the Rugby Championship in Brisbane.
The win in front of 43,715 spectators was the Springboks’ first victory at the Lang Park venue (now renamed Suncorp Stadium) in eight attempts.
“I thought our defence was awesome,” Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said. “I truly believe we won the game firstly in our minds and secondly without the ball because the whole message was we needed to make more than 150 tackles.
“We really believed we could win. We wanted to show if you work together nothing is impossible.”
The win puts South Africa on top of the Rugby Championship with three wins ahead of a meeting with New Zealand, who are also unbeaten, and Meyer cautioned his side to stay grounded ahead of Saturday’s clash at Eden Park. “A lot of things worked, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and stay humble because next week is a bigger challenge,” he said.
Prop Coenie Oosthuizen gave South Africa the perfect start in the sixth minute. After Nick Cummins failed to keep Morne Steyn’s long kick in play, South Africa won their lineout and Oosthuizen, on the field as a blood-bin replacement, brushed aside Scott Fardy and Quade Cooper to score.
Cummins looked like he could make amends for his earlier error when a line-break sent him bearing down on the South African try-line, but he slipped over just inside the 22 with one man to beat.
Three penalty kicks by Steyn and two by Christian Leali’ifano followed as the Springboks extended their lead to 16-6 at half-time, although it could have been worse for the Wallabies had Quade Cooper not produced a fine tackle to stop Willie Le Roux three minutes before the interval.
On the hour mark, wing Bryan Habana’s fine run and chip forward into the 22 led to an easy chance for Jean de Villiers to run in a try.
Four minutes later, a superb pass inside on the right wing by Le Roux set free Zane Kirchner to extend the lead.
Then loose play by Quade Cooper gifted the Springboks a turnover in midfield and Duane Vermeulen fed Le Roux who raced over for a try of his own ten minutes from time.
Such handling errors were the chief cause of frustration for Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie who is still searching for his first win after three games.