BOKS LET THIS ONE SLIP AWAY

Perth stale­mate after Eben’s men waste too many chances

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - VATA N G O B E N I

dem work of Jaco Kriel and Siya Kolisi, es­pe­cially on scram­ble de­fence, re­pelled a lot of the Wal­la­bies at­tacks, the Boks showed some of their lust to play from counter-at­tack with Jesse Kriel’s try that had come off a turned over ruck in­side the vis­i­tors’ half.

But the Spring­boks were also their own worst en­emy as they failed to fin­ish off clear try-scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, firstly through poor han­dling and then through bad de­ci­sion mak­ing. At least three times in the sec­ond half, with the Wal­la­bies well beaten and scram­bling in de­fence, the Boks took their eyes off the ball which swung the pen­du­lum back in favour of the home side.

The lot­tery that is the Bok kick­off is some­thing that will need to be ur­gently ad­dressed with the All Blacks loom­ing on the hori­zon and it al­most proved to be fa­tal with the Wal­la­bies cap­i­tal­is­ing from an eas­ily won kick-off by Fo­lau, after Kriel’s try, for Beale to fin­ish off the move two phases later with a bril­liant solo run that ripped through the heart of the vis­i­tors’ pack.

Then there was the sense­less and of­ten aim­less kick­ing off hand from fly­half El­ton Jan­tjies but for­tu­nately it was to a dis­in­ter­ested Wal­laby back three that didn’t look to be in the mood for run­ning rugby, even with the ex­plo­sive­ness of full­back Is­rael Fo­lau, Henry Speight and cen­tre Kurt­ley Beale.

Had the Wal­la­bies per­sisted with their counter-at­tacks, even with the big hits com­ing from the burly Bok for­wards on de­fence, at some point the dam walls would have suc­cumbed to the sus­tained pres­sure.

And when things worked for the Aus­tralians they did so with aplomb and they were able to get their own back at the Boks by em­ploy­ing the rolling maul to good ef­fect for hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau’s try early in the sec­ond half to ex­tend their lead by 10 points.

But that was to be the Wal­la­bies’ last salvo in anger and they seemed con­tent with hold­ing on un­til the end even though it al­most cost them dearly when Jan­tjies’ last gasp drop­goal at­tempt was charged down.

“It is dif­fi­cult, you al­ways want to win th­ese kind of games and I would have loved it to be us but un­for­tu­nately it is a draw,” said a vis­i­bly dis­ap­pointed Bok cap­tain Eben Etze­beth.

“That was a proper Test match and it was an awe­some ef­fort in the sec­ond half. We said at half-time we should work on a cou­ple of things and we al­most pulled it through.”

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