By Daniel Cullinane
After an impressive performance against the South Africans in the first test, the Australians will have been confident going into the second match. The final score didn’t reflect the dominance of the Wallabies. The Springboks are all about getting the ‘W’. Their brand of rugby isn’t pretty, but it is physical and highly effective. Last week’s result will have hurt.
The game kicked off in a rainy Sydney at the Allianz Stadium. Right from the start, the Wallabies were looking to take the pace from the first test into this game. The South Africans looked sharp and were bringing their expected physicality. The Australians were struggling to handle the Bok’s powerful drives into their defensive line. This culminated in Damian De Allende crashing over the Aussie line in the eighth minute. The try was converted making it 0-7 to the Boks.
To add to the Wallabies’ pain, Matt Philip went to the bin for infringing in the build-up to the try. After a quiet game in Adelaide last week, South African captain Siya Kolisi, was putting in a much-improved performance. His steal at the breakdown stopped the Wallabies deep in the Boks half. Nic White was doing his best to get the ball away from the ruck with speed and was getting plenty of attention from the Boks and their fans. Possibly for his Oscar-winning performance in the previous test.
The Boks continued to go through their bullying tactics upfront but were creating little in the backs. They continually tested Reece Hodge in the first half under the high ball, but he dealt with everything that came his way. The Australians were building nicely in the Boks half and putting pressure on the South African’s defence. This eventually led to a penalty and three easy points for Wallaby fly half, Noah Lolesio.
As halftime approached the Australians would have been pleased with the 3-7 scoreline. The Boks had produced little in the way of creativity and were still there for the taking. Then, from a South African box kick, a moment of brilliance from their debut wing, Canan Moodie. He leapt high above Aussie wing Marika Koroibete, and raced away with the ball to score his first try for the Springboks. The half ended 3-12 to the South Africans.
After the break, both teams appeared nervy, and a kicking battle ensued. Two minutes into the half, and the Boks were starting to string together some passes leading to a try for lock Franco Mostert. A missed conversion by Boks fly-half Damian Williamse made the score 3-17.
The South Africans were taking control of the game. The Australians were desperate to get hold of the ball and keep it. Nic White made a timely intervention to intercept a pass to Mpimpi on the wing. Australia went on the attack and made their way up the field. They put the Boks under huge pressure forcing them to persistently infringe, however no cards were shown to any of the South African team. The Australians kicked to touch, but then let the Boks off by committing a penalty and allowing them to clear their lines.
It was clear to see that the Wallabies were starting to lose their shape and the Springboks were in full control. Wave after wave of Springbok attack lead to Damian De Allende being driven over the Australian line, but he was held up. Shortly after, a sweeping move by the South Africans saw Makazole Mapimpi score in the corner.
His celebration was not welcomed by Koroibete and sparked a huge brawl. Mapimpi was yellow carded, but expect more sanctions when the citing officer has reviewed the incident. A final flourish from the Wallabies saw Pete Samu score leaving the end result, 8-24. The Springboks were deserved winners of a niggly contest, and Siya Kolisi was immense.