A battle f or sec ond plac e
Stakes are high as Springboks attempt to prevent Wallabies from climbing up the r ankings
JOHANNESBURG — Sec ond place in the world rankings and probably second place in the R ugby Championship ar e up f or gr abs w hen South Africa hos t Australia in C ape Town t oday.
The Springbok s ar e r anked sec ond and the Wallabies third going into the penultimate r ound of the southern hemisphere c ontest at tr aditionsteeped Newlands.
But, the Wallabies would rise to second behind world champions New Zealand if the y can end a 22y ear C ape Town jinx.
Since a 263 win in 1992 over opponents making only their second appearance aft er y ears of ap artheidinduced isolation, the W allabies ha ve suff ered six c onsecutive los ses.
The most onesided of those eversesr came 12 months ago when South Africa completed a homeanda way double with a 20point triumph.
Australia turned the t ables this month with a 24 23 win in P erth that proved anything but a c elebration f or Springbok wing B ryan H abana as he reached the 100cap mile stone. JOHANNESBURG — W estern P rovince survi ved a sec ondhalf onslaught from the Pumas to win their Currie Cup match 3723 at Mbombela s tadium, in Nelspruit, y esterday.
The lo gleading P rovince led b y 1 4 points at halftime, and shortly after the interval increased their lead to 21, before a spirited comeback by the hosts cut the gap to seven points. The titlechasing Province, held their nerve in the dying minutes and scored their fourth try of the match to seal the contest and a bonus point win.
With the win, P rovince move to 34 points with one mat ch r emaining f or the Cape side bef ore the pla yoffs.
The match started off with flyhalf Demetri C atrakilis slot ting a penalt y t o take a 30 lead for Province in the second minute. The opening try f ollowed
He was controversially yellowcarded late in the sec ond half f or a t ackle on Adam Ashle yCooper and the W allabies t ook ad vantage t o snatch vict ory via a lat e Rob Horne try.
South Africa lost again one week later, going down 1 410 to nemesis New Zealand, albeit after a much more passionate, def ensivelystrong displa y.
Those los ses and A ustralia being beaten away to New Zealand have left the Springbok s and W allabies six points adrift of the All Blacks with two rounds t o g o.
And if New Zealand gain an expected win in Argentina later today and collect a fourtry bonus point the y will seal a third consecutive Championship title.
Given the y ha ve the t ougher finalround fixtur e — at home t o the All Blacks — South Africa must overcome Australia t o have a r ealistic chanc e of finishing runnersup for the second successive season.
“This will be a tough outing and we have to fire on all cylinders for the full 80 minut es,” said Springbok c oach Heyneke Meyer. in the 10th minute when Nizaam Carr crossed the whitewash for the visitors, and Catrakilis added the conversion to take a 100 lead.
The fir st points f or the hos ts came South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendrick s, 1 3 Jan Serf ontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (capt), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane V ermeulen, 7 T eboho Mohoje, 6 Mar cell Coe tzee, 5 Vic tor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 A driaan S trauss, 1 T endai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Pl essis, 17 T revor Ny akane, 18 Mar cel v an der Merw e, 19 Bakkie s Botha, 20 Schalk Bur ger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pieters
“It is great to be back in South Africa after three tough games on the road and we ar e looking f orward t o pla ying in front of our support ers.
“We have had a couple of great training sessions and ther e is a definit e resolve to improve the quality of our performance t oday.”
Australia coach Ewen McKenzie believes the setpiec e contests are set t o play a crucial role in the outcome of the Test. through the boot of number 10CJ Roos as he nailed a penalt y to close the gap to 103.
Just after the halfhour mark, Catrakilis added another penalt y to send the en. Australia: 15 Isr ael F olau, 1 4 A dam AshleyCooper, 1 3 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe T omane, 10 Bernard F oley, 9 Nick Phipp s, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 R ob Simmons, 4 Sam Cart er, 3 Sek ope K epu, 2 Saia F ainga’a, 1 James Slipper . Replacements: 16 James Hans on, 17 Benn R obinson, 18 Ben Al exander, 19 Jame s Horwill, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nic Whit e, 22 Kurtley Be ale, 23 R ob Horne .
“Set pieces are always an important focus for us — even more so when you play South Africa,” said the former Wallaby prop. “We realise the outcome of the scrums and lineout s will be vit al to the final r esult.
“The Springbok s al ways rise t o another level when playing at home and we are under no illusions as to the challenges ahead. B ut, we are looking f orward to those challenges, in South Africa and in Ar gentina, as w e c ontinue score out t o 1 33.
The Pumas responded with a penalty of their own in the 36th minute as Roos was successful from the halfway line to make it 1 36.
A minute before the break, Sikhumbuzo Notshe sc ored in the c orner f or Province after some good buildup play from the C ape outfit. C atrakils ag ain converted and Province led 206 going into the br eak.
In the 46th minute, Michael van der Spuy scored next to the posts for Province’s third try of the evening, and Catrakilis added the e xtra t wo point s t o take a 2 76 lead.
As the lead r ose t o 21 point s, the home side finally clicked into gear in the 50th minut e.
Stefan Watermeyer scored two tries in the sp ace of thr ee minutes, and r e evolving and impr oving our g ame.”
South Africa have made t wo injuryenforced changes to the side that started ag ainst N ew Z ealand with scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and flanker Teboho Mohoje r eplacing R uan Pienaar and Francois Lou w.
Meyer has dismissed concerns about runon debutant Mohoje, a 24yearold who made his senior rugby debut only this y ear, being ring rus ty.
“His mat ch sharpne ss is a c oncern having last played in July, but he is very fit,” said M eyer of a f orward expected to pla y 50 minut es bef ore v eteran Schalk B urger c omes off the bench.
McKenzie has chang ed both wing s from the t eam that edg ed Ar gentina with A dam Ashle yCooper and J oe Tomane r eplacing P eter B etham and Horne.
The other alteration is at hooker with Saia Fainga’a coming in for injured Tatafu PolotaNau, and the inclusion of experienced pr op B enn R obinson is among the bench chang es.
The mat ch is t elecast on SS1 fr om 4 pm. — S apaAFP. placement flyhalf Justin van Staden was successful with both conversions as the gap was narrowed to seven points at 2720.
Van St aden added a penalt y in the 54th minut e t o close the g ap t o f our points at 2 723.
Catrakils again extended the lead for Province in the 58th minute with a penalty t o t ake the sc ore t o 30 23.
Two minut es bef ore the end, C arr barged o ver f or his sec ond try of the evening to seal the result, and Catrakils added the conversion for a hardearned 3723 win. • S ampie M astriet sc ored a br ace of tries as the Blue Bulls secured a scrappy 3122 (halftime 119) Currie Cup victory over the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on F riday e vening.
— S apa.
Last time the Bok s me t the W allabies, a l astminute R ob Horne try clinched a onepoint win f numbertwo r anked side t o the All Bl acks with a vic tory on home s oil. or the A ustralians. T oday at Ne wlands, the S pringboks will w ant t o c...