Wal­la­bies,Boks share hon­ours again – a fair re­flec­tion in er­ror-prone clash

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - JAC­QUES WESTHUYZEN


SOUTH African coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee says his team’s 27-all draw with Australia here last night felt like a loss. For the sec­ond time this season and in this year’s Rugby Cham­pi­onship, the Spring­boks and Wal­la­bies drew a game, the first com­ing in Perth three weeks ago when the score was 23-all.

Bok fly­half El­ton Jan­tjies missed an 80th minute penalty that, had it gone through the up­rights, would have won the game for the un­der-pres­sure Boks.

Coet­zee’s men have only got the bet­ter of Ar­gentina this season, home and away, and next face the New Zealand All Blacks in Cape Town on Satur­day. The last time they met, in Al­bany two weeks ago, the New Zealan­ders won 57-0.

“It’s al­ways dif­fi­cult at home... it feels like a loss,” said Coet­zee after yes­ter­day’s match.

“But I’m proud of the team, and the ef­fort they put in and the way they played. It’s been a tough two weeks. The play­ers showed great char­ac­ter and they were tested out there after an emo­tional week.

“I’ve got no prob­lem with the ef­fort and the mind­set is also right; the way we want to play.

“We cre­ated a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties and that’s a mas­sive pos­i­tive, but we didn’t take them all and at the end I sup­pose you could say it was a game of missed op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I think this team can feel they were bet­ter than the Wal­la­bies. We’re tak­ing the right steps in the right di­rec­tion.”

The All Blacks, though, are ex­pected to ask many more ques­tions of the Boks’ de­fence than the Wal­la­bies did, and Coet­zee knows it’s going to take some­thing spe­cial if his side are to come out on top in Cape Town.

“Now we can fo­cus on next week. We’re play­ing a very good All Blacks side and we’d be liv­ing in a fool’s par­adise if we thought we could top­ple them.

“We’ll keep build­ing and keep tak­ing strides but we’ll be ready for them.”

Wal­la­bies boss Michael Cheika also felt his side should have and could have won.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed in the re­sult. I thought we worked hard enough to get a win, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“We worked out their strat­egy pretty quickly, to try to run us off our feet and take away our puff, but we de­fended well and at the end I felt we managed the al­ti­tude fac­tor pretty well.”

One of the ma­jor talk­ing points of the match was the tackle on Bok wing Dil­lyn Leyds by Wal­la­bies full­back Is­rael Fo­lau. It ap­peared Fo­lau had taken Leyds out by grab­bing his hair, which re­sulted in Boks cap­tain Eben Etze­beth seeing red and charg­ing into the tackle sit­u­a­tion.

Only a penalty was awarded against the Wal­la­bies by Kiwi ref­eree Ben O’Ke­effe, some­thing that in­fu­ri­ated the Bloem­fontein crowd and the Bok play­ers.

But Cheika said there was no way Fo­lau had grabbed Leyds by the hair, but the Bok winger said otherwise.

“He def­i­nitely grabbed me by the hair, twice in fact.”

Coet­zee said he would leave the mat­ter in Sanzaar’s hands, while Cheika voiced his dis­ap­proval of Etze­beth, who he said had charged in with a lead­ing el­bow, but no action was taken against him.

Two av­er­age teams went at it ham­mer and tongs and after an ex­cit­ing, if not, ex­hil­a­rat­ing 80 min­utes they couldn’t again be sep­a­rated – and per­haps that is fit­ting.

The re­al­ity is there isn’t much sep­a­rat­ing these teams, with the All Blacks way out in front for class and abil­ity, and Ar­gentina at the back of the queue.

The re­sult will not sit well with the bosses at the SA Rugby Union, and rightly so.

The Boks re­ally should never strug­gle against the Wal­la­bies at al­ti­tude, and dur­ing the course of the 80 min­utes yes­ter­day, they were shown up badly as a team that want to play ex­cit­ing, clin­i­cal, fast rugby, but are still some way off.

If the Boks pro­duce a sim­i­lar type of per­for­mance in Cape Town next Satur­day, it could again get messy, as it did in Al­bany. The Boks may have pro­duced a fun and en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mance, with the ball going through many hands, but it was by no means an ef­fort to think they’ll rat­tle a team that put 57 points past them with­out re­ply in New Zealand.

10th minute:

Is­rael Fo­lau try from scrum set move two switches with Fo­lau charg­ing from the in­side to score un­touched. Spring­bok de­fence left in sixes and sevens yet again.

38th minute:

Fo­lau pulls Dil­lyn Leyd’s by the hair which fu­els brawl be­tween play­ers. Mo­ments later Boks lose li­ne­out from five me­tres out and re­lieve sus­tained pres­sure on Wal­la­bies on the cusp of the half-time in­ter­val. No sanc­tion for Fo­lau.

43rd minute:

Jan Ser­fontein try gives the Spring­boks the lead for the first time in the game. Siya Kolisi runs on the right hand side of the field and went over Kurt­ley Beale be­fore of­fload­ing to Leyds, who threw an in­side pass which was col­lected by Ser­fontein.

49th minute:

Court­nal Skosan try. Boks run­ning at full tilt from a li­ne­out from the half­way line and show­ing some vari­a­tion in run­ning lines and speed with which they re­cy­cled the ball. Re­gained the lead 24-20.

57th minute:

Kurt­ley Beale try. Spring­boks in­abil­ity to make of­fen­sive tack­les made it easy for the Wal­la­bies to get over the ad­van­tage line and with enough men sucked into the in­side, the Wal­la­bies threw the ball wide to Beale. Wal­la­bies re­gained the lead 27-24

79th minute:

El­ton Jan­tjies missed a penalty kick which would have won the Spring­boks the game but they had to set­tle for their sec­ond draw of the season against Australia.


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