The Wallabies have defeated World Cup champions South Africa in a fairytale finish, to secure their first win of the 2021 eToro Rugby Championship in front of a vocal 15,191 crowd.
Quade Cooper secured 23 of Australia’s 28 points, kicking seven penalties and one conversion to keep the Wallabies eToro Rugby Championship hopes alive.
A battle of the boot dominated the opening minutes of the match before a penalty against the Wallabies saw Handre Pollard draw first blood. However, Cooper made an immediate impact in his first Wallabies match since 2017, kicking Australia’s opening penalty to level the scores.
The battle of the boot continued, with Pollard and Cooper going head-to-head before a try to Andrew Kellaway broke the points deadlock, following a yellow card to South Africa captain Siya Kolisi.
A back-and-forth battle ensued before a collapsed maul saw Matt Philip yellow carded. The one-man advantage allowed the visitors to capitalise, with a driving maul putting Bongi Mbonambi over the line.
Another two penalties saw the Wallabies continue to steam ahead thanks to the boot of Cooper, sending the home side into the sheds up 19-11 at half-time.
South Africa was the first to strike in the second half, with Pollard regaining accuracy following an earlier miss. However, Australia was swift to strike with Cooper again stepping up to add the extras for the Wallabies.
A yellow card to Folau Fainga’a saw South Africa again take advantage of the Wallabies defence, with Malcolm Marx crossing for the visitors to close the gap before Pollard added the extras.
Cooper again stepped up for the Wallabies, kicking his sixth penalty for the night and as the Wallabies extended their lead, coach Dave Rennie continued to blood his players, as Feleti Kaitu’u came on to become Wallaby #945 and then Rob Leota as Wallaby #946
A driving maul for South Africa saw them again cross the line, with Marx crossing for his second try of the match setting up the game for a dramatic finish.
As the Wallabies continued to pepper the South African defence, a penalty on full-time set up the deciding kick. Cooper kept true to form and secured the win for the Wallabies.
The Wallabies will return to Suncorp Stadium next weekend as they again take on South Africa. Tickets are available at wallabies.rugby
Wallabies 28 (Kellaway tries, Cooper con, Cooper 7 pens) defeated South Africa 26 (Mbonambi, Marx 2 tries, Pollard con, Pollard 3 pens)
Wallabies (1-15): Angus Bell, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Izack Rodda, Matt Philip, Lachie Swinton, Michael Hooper (c) Rob Valetini, Tate McDermott, Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks
Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia
Wallabies Substitutions: 40mins – White for McDermott, 47mins – Slipper for Bell, 55mins – Tupou for Alaalatoa, 59mins – Samu for Swinton, 62mins – Petaia for Kellaway, 63 mins – Kaitu’u for Valetini, 73mins – Hodge for Banks, 74mins – Leota for Rodda
South Africa (1-15): Steven Kishoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (c), Franco Mostert, Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Makazole Mapimpi, Damian de Allende, Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi, Willie le Roux
Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Ox Nché, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse