Jean de Villiers and Boks stick to script to beat Australia

Wallabies led until 11 minutes from time before home side upped tempo and scored three late tries

Jean de Villiers from South Africa celebrates scoring a try in  their Rugby Championship match against  Australia at the Newlands stadium in Cape Town. Photograph: Nic Bothma / EPA

Jean de Villiers from South Africa celebrates scoring a try in their Rugby Championship match against Australia at the Newlands stadium in Cape Town. Photograph: Nic Bothma / EPA

 

South Africa 28 Australia 10

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers hailed his team’s perfect game-plan after their 28-10 Rugby Championship victory over Australia at Newlands on Saturday, brought about by strength off the bench and superior fitness.

Both side will face Ireland in Dublin in November and Australia were the better side for much of this match, as the Springboks battled to break them down. The Wallabies led until 11 minutes from time when the home side upped the tempo and scored three late tries. Before that there was plenty of frustration for the Boks, who had lots of the ball but not the skills to utilise it effectively.

De Villiers said they always believed Australia would wilt in the closing stages.

“It was how we planned it, you never want to leave it too late but we said if we stuck to our structures in first 60-70 minutes, we could break them down in the last 10,” De Villiers told reporters. Australia made 252 tackles in the game, 100 more than their opponents, as South Africa spread the ball through the hands.

“From the first kick-off we kept the ball for something like 20 phases and did that throughout the game. We did not get the result (of a try) then, but we knew that come the end of the game it counts for you. Our composure was much better,” added De Villiers. “Once we got the momentum we were unstoppable, it was probably among the best 10 minutes of test rugby I have been involved in.”

The Rugby Championship title for this year has already been claimed by world champions New Zealand who South Africa meet in their final game in Johannesburg on Saturday.

It is another chance for the Boks to beat their arch-rivals having lost narrowly in Wellington earlier in the competition.

“We did not play badly in the two games abroad, one or two things went against us and we lost,” De Villiers said. “We always look back and see where we make the mistakes, we want to improve every game we play. We came close in Wellington but just did not get there.”

Australia captain Michael Hooper believes it was the South African bench that won them the game after strong performances from loose-forward Schalk Burger and outhalf Pat Lambie.

“Their bench came on and got a lot of carries and we couldn’t keep up with them,” he said. “It is massively disappointing but we did also do a lot right in the game. We must just keep doing more of the same. We knew they would try and play with the ball more at home and we were competing well until the end. It is hard to say coming off the pitch what went wrong, we will have to look at the video and work it out.”

Australia now head to Argentina for their final game of the championship in Mendoza on Saturday.

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