A bat­tle f or sec ond plac e

Stakes are high as Spring­boks at­tempt to pre­vent Wal­la­bies from climb­ing up the r ank­ings

Weekend Witness - - Sport - Prov­ince sur­vive sec­ond­half on­slaught from Pu­mas to win 37­23

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.

PHOTO: GALLO

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...

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