Australia 30 - 13 South Africa: Jaque Fourie banned for four weeks as Wallabies demolish Spingboks
Referee: George Clancy
Springbok Jaque Fourie has been banned for four weeks for a dangerous tackle in Saturday's 30-13 defeat to Australia, dealing another blow to South Africa's calamitous defence of their Tri-Nations title.
The outside centre will miss two domestic Currie Cup matches and their third Tri-Nations test against New Zealand on 21 August after being cited for the spear tackle on Wallabies' No?8 Richard Brown in the second minute of the Brisbane match.
Fourie, who received a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle on All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu in last year's campaign, was yellow-carded for the offence as the world champions fell to their third defeat in three Tri-Nations matches.
Australia fly-half Quade Cooper was also cited for a dangerous tackle, but was handed a two-week ban because of "mitigating circumstances" which included Cooper's "good record".
South African winger Jean de Villiers was suspended for two weeks for a dangerous tackle during the Springboks' 31-17 defeat to New Zealand last week in Wellington, while lock Bakkies Botha was banned for nine weeks for headbutting scrum-half Jimmy Cowan in their 32-12 loss to the All Blacks in Auckland on 10 July.
Matt Giteau kicked five penalties and set up a pivotal try as Australia recorded a convincing victory on Saturday. The Wallabies led 23-3 before the Springboks crossed in the 62nd and 72nd minutes via centre Fourie and prop Gurthro Steenkamp to get back to 23-13 with eight minutes remaining. But Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia darted over between two tacklers from the back of a close-range ruck in the 75th to seal the win in Australia's first match of this season's competition.
"Very happy. A lot of stuff to be proud of, particularly the defence," Australia coach Robbie Deans said. "They were desperate, they threw everything at us and we hung on."
Deans said it was frustrating Australia didn't convert more of their scoring opportunities, but was impressed with the commitment at the breakdown and the consistent supply of possession.
The South Africans conceded 63 points in two losses to the All Blacks in New Zealand and the defeat to Australia means they didn't pick up a point in a three-Test road trip. It also extended a long drought in Brisbane, where the Springboks have not beaten the Wallabies since 1971.
New Zealand lead the Tri-Nations on ten points from two bonus-point wins and have their first away match of the competition on Saturday against Australia in Melbourne.
The Springboks again had trouble with discipline and were twice reduced to 14 men: Fourie was sin-binned in the second minute for a dangerous tackle on Richard Brown and prop BJ Botha was sin-binned in the second half for killing the ball at the back of Australian ruck only metres from the South African line. South Africa complained about the referees' interpretations when they had players sent off in each of their losses to New Zealand.
The Springboks got a numerical advantage in the second half and capitalised on it, with Fourie barging over while Cooper was in the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle. Steenkamp burrowed over from a lineout move for the Springboks ten minutes later but Ruan Pienaar was unable to convert either of the Springboks tries, lifting some pressure off Australia.
In an attacking match with limited kicking in general play, the Australian loose forwards provided the difference with their superior play at the breakdown. Flanker David Pocock was able to turn over the Springboks ball and skipper Rocky Elsom was strong on and off the ball, allowing the Australians to keep possession in hand and run the bigger South Africans ragged. Giteau landed four first-half penalties to give the Australians a buffer but the Wallabies weren't able to cross the South African line until seconds before the break.
Elsom won a lineout against the throw and, a few phases later, Giteau got a pass away amid three defenders for Drew Mitchell, who juggled the ball before he touched down to give Australia a 17-3 lead at half-time.
With three home matches remaining, Springboks coach Peter de Villiers still has hopes South Africa can retain the title but knows it will depend on results between Australia and New Zealand.
"We haven't been on the money really in anything. We're going to have to dig deep and work hard," he said.
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Drew Mitchell, Will Genia. Penalties: Matt Giteau 5, James O'Connor. Conversions: O'Connor. South Africa: Tries: Jaque Fourie, Gurthro Steenkamp. Penalty: Morne Steyn.
Australia: Ashley-Cooper; O'Connor, Horne, Giteau, Mitchell; Cooper, Genia; Robinson, Faingaa, Ma'afu, Mumm, Sharpe, Elsom, Pocock, Brown. Replacements: Moore (for Faingaa, 55), Slipper (for Robinson, 58), Simmons, McCalman, Burgess, Barnes (for Giteau, 72), Beale.
South Africa: Kirchner; Aplon, Fourie, Olivier, Habana; Steyn, Pienaar; Steenkamp, Smit (captain), Botha, Rossouw, Matfield, Burger, Kankowski, Spies. Replacements: Ralepelle (for Smit, 73), Van der Linde, Van der Merwe, Potgieter, Hougaard (for Pienaar, 73), James (for Steyn, 54), De Jongh (for Olivier, 54).