77 mins: Australia go short with the lineout and soon have Kerevi hitting the line at speed. Leota has a dart, Kerevi again, Philip, none of them making a dent in the green wall. Koroibete does better after contact but the Springboks are up quickly snuffing out any quick ball. Australia are eight phases deep to tread water. Double figures and play remains on halfway. Australia continue to keep the ball alive – Cooper to Hodge is ugly and South Africa squeeze up. Is there an end to this? Maybe! Kerevi with the dart, Hoope on the outside on the left, he has a clear linebreak and Hodge on his left, the pass is very late and just as Hodge accepts the pill Willemse nails the tackle perfectly and forces the knock-on. THAT was the chance. If Australia don’t win, that will be the moment they rue. Patient multi-phase play, but disciplined, 15-man defence.
74 mins: South Africa are happy to slow the game down now, milking the breakdown then box kicking on the right wing.
Damian Willemse, on for Pollard, sprays a horrible conversion attempt miles to the right. One-point game, seven minutes to go.
The lineout is good. The maul forms. The creep towards the line is menacing. The weight is there, the momentum is there, and the irresistible force of the Springbok pack have their third pushover try!
71 mins: For the third passage in a row the Springboks kick to the left corner in search of a pushover try.
71 mins: The 5m lineout is safe. Penalty advantage immediately for the Springboks, that allows them to eschew the stagnant maul and throw the ball wide from left to right. There’s space, but the ball is slow to get to the corner and Australia show excellent scrambling defence to cover.
70 mins: The lineout is solid, the maul forms, the penalty advantage is called and South Africa reload.
69 mins: South Africa decline the shot for goal and instead kick for the corner. Can they score their third pushover try of the night?
69 mins: Massive shove from the Springboks on Australia’s feed but the ball comes out. Kerevi has a green wall in front of him, but from a standing start he earns metres after contact. After the offload to Samu the breakdown penalty goes South Africa’s way in A1 penalty goal territory.
68 mins: The lineout is solid but the maul cannot get going and Australia have bodies in the mix causing mayhem. Kaitu’u is in the thick of it, and he earns a vital penalty! Australia almost back to parity at 15-15. This has been a heck of a shift, matching South Africa’s muscle around the ground.
67 mins: South Africa still have a couple of minutes with an extra man. Can they take advantage? They have a golden opportunity with a scrum penalty leading to a lineout 35m form home.
66 mins: Solid lineout on the 20m line, but as White throws the ball infield Kerevi is a step ahead of his mark and he leaves the pass behind. Scrum to South Africa. Big opportunity missed for Australia.
65 mins: Australia slow from the restart and White box kicks. The ball lands back Australia’s way so Cooper kicks crossfield from left to right. The chase from Petaia is blistering and he nails Pollard into touch. Cooper has controlled open play excellently tonight.
40m out, 10m infield from the right – Cooper roosts a superb penalty goal! He is having a magnificent return to Test rugby.
62 mins: Australia opt to run instead of kicking, and Cooper does well to run and accept contact near halfway on the right edge. The ball is returned infield and there’s a penalty at the breakdown.
South Africa have now returned to 15, with a man advantage for seven minutes. However, there’ll be plenty of seconds eaten up by Cooper taking a low percentage penalty attempt.
14 v 14 as South Africa secure the lineout and roll another tidal wave of a maul crashing over the Wallaby line. Predictable, fearsome, and effective. Awesome to watch. Bloody strong bunch of boys pushing ridiculously hard in formation.
Pollard finds his range off the tee. One-point game!
“Clear foul play by No 2, he comes with distance and speed.” The fourth sin-binning of the night.
58 mins: That knock-on was upgraded to an offside penalty and Pollard kicks South Africa to a lineout on the 20m line. The maul doesn’t have as much vigour as previously and the ball is slowed down. The big Springbok pack get to work to drive through the middle but Australia stand firm and force Pollard to kick from the pocket. He goes high to the left corner and from the contest the ball lands South Africa’s way. 5m out, both sides frantic until De Klerk settles everyone down. Can they capitalise? Not immediately. Fainga’a is pinged for a diving shoulder charge at the knees of Nché, and the TMO is interested yet again.
55 mins: Australia secure their own lineout ball near halfway, then Cooper kicks deep. South Africa return fire and Koroibete knocks on leaping for the contested mark.
54 mins: Australia happy to keep the game slow from the restart, but they lose the ball on the floor on their 20m line! That was sloppy. South Africa go slowly from right to left in a series of slow phases. Ikitau is strong in defence, Swinton again forgets to use his arms, but gets away with it this time. Hooper is everywhere – and he earns the breakdown penalty! That was a big open-play win for the Wallabies. The Springboks haven’t linked many phases tonight but on that occasion they tested Australia repeatedly and they stood firm.
Kolisi jogs off for the night, and Vermeulen. This is going to be a heck of a comeback from here.
Cooper continues his superb return to Test rugby. Remember that action all began with his visionary 50/20.
That looked very harsh to me. Le Roux wasn’t far off an 80m intercept try, and was hardly speculating unreasonably. Still, Cooper has a chance to extend the lead.
The Springbok fullback’s intervention was deemed a deliberate knock-on. Attention then turns to the possibility of a penalty try, but that is ruled out with the number of covering defenders. However, the yellow card is pulled out for the third time tonight!
52 mins: South Africa start to get some roll on with the scrum but Australia hold firm and get the ball out. Kerevi hits the line hard and when Cooper gets the ball back at speed he sees space and kicks Test rugby’s first 50/20! The Wallabies secure the attacking lineout on the right and then get to work across the field. Phases build on the left wing but South Africa defend well. White then tries a very risky floaty cutout pass to the right, which Kellaway does well to gather. White is then back at the breakdown and looking to Ikitau on his outside but the attempted interception is knocked on by Le Roux. Australia are adamant that should be a deliberate knock on. The TMO is involved…
50 mins: The Springboks, who are starting to empty their bench, kick to halfway. De Klerk then kicks away lineout possession but he overclubs out on the full and gifts possession back to Australia. In this see-saw contest of course South Africa steal the lineout. They instantly go to the air, from centre-field to the left wing, but the high ball is knocked on and Australia will feed a scrum on halfway.
47 mins: Vermuelen juggles the restart kick. South Africa try a couple of tight drives, and they may regret it, because from the second there’s a breakdown penalty against the Springboks.
However, the TMO is now involved to check a Swinton tackle with no arms. He got away with one against Kolisi in the first half, but not this time. Penalty reversed. The referees discussed a yellow card but contact was on the shoulder, not the head.
The Springboks have had all the ball and territory this half, and they now have three points to show for it.
45 mins: Penalty for South Africa for Australia clearing out De Klerk too soon and the ball is kicked down to the 20m line. The lineout is solid and the Springboks begin to rumble a maul. It rolls a metre, then five, Australia are scrambling to hold it up. 10m out the ball is released infield and from the first contact Cooper and Hooper combine for a breakdown infringement.
43 mins: Pollard hits the upright! The ball comes down in chaotic broken field but Australia secure the loose ball and Cooper belts clear. Very uncharacteristic from Pollard off the tee today so far. His third miss, and that one was very gettable.
42 mins: The scrum gods giveth and the scrum gods taketh away. After Bell won a penalty against the feed on the stroke of half-time, the Wallaby No 1 is penalised with the feed 25m out from his own line.
42 mins: Australia claim the restart and take a couple of super slow drives on the left wing but cough the ball up cheaply. South Africa sense an opportunity and go through hands to the left but Am shells the runaround pass from Pollard and the attack is over before it starts.
McDermott is off with a minor knock.
Nic White is on for Tate McDermott at scrum-half for the Wallabies. I wonder if that’s injury related?
Teams are back out for the second half. Plenty for the Springboks to do in the next 40 minutes.
Australia with the unlikely half-time advantage. Their first half-time leads in Tests in 2021!
Cooper continues his dream return to Test rugby.
40 mins: South Africa scrum under their own posts – and a penalty for Australia! Huge huge win for the Wallaby pack.
39 mins: Another good lineout for Australia and the ball is through hands from the left edge to midifeld. Hooper finds a gap, Valetini is on his outside shoulder and the Wallabies are 10m from the line. The Springboks defence is up incredibly fast and shuts down any runners. Australia continue to recycle possession though, even if play is slow at the breakdown. Cooper runs into contact like a prisoner walking the green mile, but still Australia probe. 5m from the line, the momentum is relentless, such industry from the Wallabies… until Alaalatoa fumbles and the drive fizzles out. Tremendous intent from the Wallabies, even if the move ends pointless.
37 mins: Australia win the defensive lineout, and that is improved by a penalty against South Africa for impeding the jumper. The Wallabies are now back to their full complement of 15.
35 mins: Massive punt from Ikitau and Australia are stable on halfway after the restart. The Wallabies then steal the lineout and Koroibete, Le Roux, and Banks exchange kicks. The passage ends with the Springbok fullback marking and clearing, but the lineout is taken quickly and Australia are soon on the move again… but with phases building McDermott throws a blind intercept pass and it takes a superb tackle to repel the raiding Kolisi on the right wing.
Australia extend their lead to five points. They’ll be delighted with just a two-point deficit with Philip in the bin.
32 mins: Great lineout from Australia with quick ball feeding McDermott and inviting Koroibete to hit the line fast. Play gets through phases three and four then the ball spins right to Kerevi to pose problems. South Africa hold him up but the phases continue infield, Australia doing well to clear out and keep play moving. This is game from Australia, and soon they have a penalty advantage, which they eventually cash in under the posts. Koroibete and Kerevi are serious wrecking balls hitting the line with momentum.
30 mins: Will South Africa change tactic with the man advantage? What do you think? De Klerk box kicks the restart, Australia set slowly at the breakdown and Cooper goes for another dink kick over the top, only for play to be recalled for a Springbok offside. The Wallabies kick to the left corner.
Another lineout, another maul, and this time the Springboks rumble over! That was inevitable, and awesome. Mbonambi has the honour of peeling away at the back to touchdown.
Pollard misses his second kick, this time from just inside the right touchline.
28 mins: “There’s too much doubt,” to award a penalty try. “Just a penalty and yellow.” More brilliant swift, clear communication from the referees.
Play returns to the penalty advantage. The Springboks nail another lineout and get moving with the maul. They get to the line and everything comes crashing down. Philip is immediately sent to the bin for collapsing the maul. The TMO is now being asked if it’s a penalty try.
27 mins: The lineout soon becomes a penalty advantage. De Klerk sees space behind the defensive line, dabs a cute grubber kick, and Am has just to gather and touch down – but he can’t! Miraculous defence on the line, on his back, by McDermott, and he disrupts the carry and the South African centre knocks-on.
26 mins: Good lineout from the Springboks and it soon becomes a penalty with Australia coming through the line too quickly before the maul formed. As Kolisi rejoins the fray Pollard kicks to the right corner.
24 mins: Vermeulen knocks-on chasing a high ball and Australia have their first scrum feed of the night, 10m into their own half on the left wing. McDermott snipes down the blindside, then Swinton puts his head down, but Valetini is penalised for incorrectly clearing out the breakdown.
23 mins: From 46m out, 12m in from the right touchline, Pollard misses the right-hand upright. Still, it sped up the return of captain Kolisi.
22 mins: Fainga’a resumes his position, but again the front rows collapse, but not before South Africa are told to use the ball. Guess what? De Klerk box kicks down the line. Koroibete runs the ball back, slaloming through bodies down the line, but once Vermeulen hammers him the ball isn’t coming out and the referee’s arm points in favour of a green penalty. Pollard will milk the clock as he kicks for goal.
21 mins: The second scrum of the night collapses at the front and Wallaby hooker Fainga’a looks in a bad way at the end of it. It is a discipline not long for this world you’d have to think.
Australia opt to run with the man advantage from the lineout. From midfield the ball goes to the right and Kerevi makes the crucial incursion, straightening his attack and holding his balance to float the ball wide to Kellaway who dashes around the outside to cross. A hint of a forward pass in the build-up, but nobody prevents Quade Cooper from dabbing over a simple conversion.
Brilliant from Australia, and an immediate use of the extra man.
The communication from the referee to the TMO is superb. “Clearly six drives him through the horizontal. We’ve got foul play, it’s a dangerous tackle. Yellow card.”
The Springbok skipper is off for ten minutes. The only question on review was whether it was yellow or red, but Banks landed safely enough to avoid the maximum punishment.
16 mins: Koroibete then Swinton try to run from their own 20m line but this South African defensive line is impenetrable. McDermott and Pollard exchange kicks, the latter going high to the left where Banks takes the ball well, and is then tipped in the tackle by Kolisi. Banks was lifted above horizontal and we’re going to the TMO…
© AsiaNewsday Media 2021