BOKS LET THIS ONE SLIP AWAY
Perth stalemate after Eben’s men waste too many chances
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.”