A better script for a game of rugby union could not be written, if you were supporting the home side South Africa at least. The home-side was down 16 points to 10 at half time, and only managed to draw the match at Newlands Stadium on 71 minutes. And as would be written in the same script, the young replacement Francois Steyn scored both the score-levelling kick and winning kick – drop kicks, one of them no less than 45 metres from the poles, close to the touchline. I have questioned the same guy’s lack of experience and decision making capabilities but today, very fortunately for South Africa, Frans Steyn came good and did it under some serious pressure too.
The Springboks dominated most of the game (this showed in the post-match stats with the Boks having possession stacked 60%-40% in their favour) and the scoreline should have been a heck of a lot higher than 22-19 at ful time and it should certainly not have had the South African rugby team trailing at the break. The cause of the points not having a true reflection on the match was partly the Springboks un-forced errors and partly the Wallabies rushing defence. A tactic employed by the Springboks themselves. A lot of the time when the SA Rugby team found themselves on the attack in the Australian’s 22 they gave the ball away in silly manners; knock-ons, the ball kicked away in a promising move and even an attacking scrum awarded to South Africa being overturned to a penalty for Australia due to Schalk Burger getting into some “argy-bargy” after the whistle had been blown.
The one and only try for the Boks was scored by centre Jacques Fourie on 13 minutes. Butch James kicked off with a grubber that set up a few phases for South Africa after which Butch James was invloved again smartly picking the ball up off his toes and pass the ball out to Fourie sending him in for the try in the corner. Shortly afterwards – in what looked to be an oversight the referee Barnes as an Australian moved involved some obstructive running in mid-field, the Cape Town stadium was hushed as Matt Giteau went over next to the posts for the Wallabies only try of the match. Another mistake by the referee and his team was the yellow-carding and resultant 10 minutes off handed to Pierre Spies. Spies seemed to simply be making his way back on-side when a George Gregan pass hit him, this was somehow adjudged to be worthy of a sin-bin.
There were definite highlights in the match for the Boks, with some deft passing between forwards and backs as well as some long passages of play where the Springboks held onto and shielding the ball very well, playing in close to the point of breakdown.
Australia’s highlights in the match were Stirling Mortlock’s accuracy with his boot and their excellent defence. They’ve proven that they will not be walk overs by any stretch of the imagination in this Tri-Nations series.
Man of the Match went to Schalk Burger for the many runs into hard contact and his ever-persistent competing for the ball at the points of breakdown.
All in all a great test match to watch, going down to the wire and Francois Steyn winning over the hearts of the Newlands sold out crowd by putting over his match-winning drop-kicks.