Australia 30 - 13 South Africa: Wallabies slay sorry Springboks in Tri-Nations
Fly-half Will Genia celebrated his return from a thumb injury with a 75th-minute try to seal victory after South Africa scored two second-half tries to claw to within ten points.
Winger Drew Mitchell scored on the stroke of half-time and Matt Giteau slotted five penalties to maintain the Springboks' winless record at Suncorp and leave their Tri-Nations campaign on the brink of collapse after three straight losses.
The Springboks did themselves few favours, having a man sin-binned at the start of each half and conceding a raft of first-half penalties to allow the Wallabies to open a 17-3 lead at the break.
"Gotta be happy with the performance. There was a lot of stuff to be proud of, particularly the defence," Australia coach Robbie Deans said.
Jacque Fourie and Gurthro Steenkamp scored South Africa's first tries in 13 years at Suncorp, previously known as Lang Park, after an indisciplined first half in which they managed only three points from a Morne Steyn penalty.
Steenkamp's try put South Africa within ten points eight minutes before time and sparked hopes of an unlikely comeback but the Wallabies absorbed fierce pressure in their 22.
As with their two previous away defeats to New Zealand, the Springboks started miserably when outside centre Fourie was sinbinned in the third minute for lifting No.8 Richard Brown in a tackle. Fourie was the third South African player sinbinned early in three consecutive matches.
"I just couldn't believe it could happen again for the third week in a row. This can't keep happening, surely," lamented Springboks captain John Smit.
Under-pressure Springboks coach Peter de Villiers deflected a question about his fitness to coach South Africa to next year's World Cup.
"I think you must ask my bosses," he said.
Australia: Ashley-Cooper; O'Connor, Horne, Giteau, Mitchell; Cooper, Genia; Robinson, S. Faingaa, Ma'afu, Mumm, Sharpe, Elsom, Pocock, Brown.
South Africa: Kirchner; Aplon, Fourie, Olivier, Habana; Steyn, Pienaar; Steenkamp, Smit, Botha, Rossouw, Matfield, Burger, Kankowski, Spies.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).