Peter De Villiers resting of key players ready for the home legs of the Tri-Nations back fired on him as Australia took the spoils in the Mr Price Stadium also known as Durban’s King’s Park, on Saturday. The squad have only one match left, against the in-form All Blacks next Saturday, to recover some form and momentum before they open the defence of their world crown against Wales on 11 September. However the Kiwis may have given them a lifeline as Graham Henry has decided to rest captain Richie McCaw, fly-half Dan Carter and a host of other leading names for their Tri-Nations match against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth next Saturday, 20 August.
The contest on Saturday started slowly as the teams traded penalties from Francois Steyn and Butch James, to one from James O’Connor and this saw the Boks take the lead 6-3 at half-time.
The second period and Pat McCabe scored to edge the Wallabies ahead, but a James penalty saw the Boks back in front, before two penalties from James O’Conner brought Australia home with a fine away win and the final score of:
South Africa 9-14 Australia
Pens: Steyn, James 2
Pens: O’Connor 3
South Africa: Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean De Villiers, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, John Smit (capt), Jannie du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brussow, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies.
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Guthro Steenkamp, Gerhard Mostert, Jean Deysel, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Gio Aplon.
Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Rocky Elsom (capt), David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham.
Replacements: Saia Faingaa, Salesi Maafu, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Radike Samo, Luke Burgess, Anthony Fainga’a.