Johannesburg: The Wallabies first audition in a World Cup year has resulted in a 35-17 loss to South Africa in a game where the visitors failed to take their chances at crucial moments and Springboks halfback Herschel Jantjies ran rings around his opponents with two super tries.
Australia bombed two first half tries of their own, courtesy of a Samu Kerevi forward pass to Lukhan Salakaia-Loto before he crossed the paint and then a Dane Haylett-Petty fumble over the tryline.
Add to that captain Michael Hoopers questionable decision to ask for a scrum rather than take an easy penalty in front of the sticks and the Wallabies left a potential 17 points out on the field in one half alone.
Australia only trailed 14-10 at the break and were arguably the better side early on but couldnt lift to another gear in the next 40 minutes as they slumped to their 12th defeat in 16 matches stretching back to late 2017.
"South Africa controlled the second half so well," Hooper said. "We had a few opportunities in the first half which would have created a different picture but pat on the back to the South African team who controlled the ball and took advantage of the yellow card and took the match away.
"Our attack in the first half was world-class. We showed a lot of different pictures but the reality is those things didnt happen and we were left with them doubling our points. Theres a lot to look at."
Taniela Tupous yellow card in the 54th minute for a no-arms cleanout compounded his sides woes and was a big moment as South African halves duo Herschel Jantjies and Elton Jantjies worked their magic to get South Africa off to an auspicious start in this years truncated Rugby Championship.
Herschel Jantjies bagged two five-pointers to the delight of a vocal local crowd at the venue of South Africas 1995 World Cup triumph.
There were bright spots for Australia in the form of fullback Tom Banks, No.8 Isi Naisarani on debut and halfback Nic White but the Wallabies will lick their wounds after suffering their biggest loss to the Springboks since the Cape Town Test of 2014.
Australia have little time to bounce back from the five tries to two defeat before facing Argentina in Brisbane next Saturday.
Reserve Kurtley Beale showed real spark when he was injected. His neat offload to Bernard Foley brought about a try nine minutes from full-time to bring the margin back to 11 points but it was too little, too late.
The Springboks gambled by picking a weakened side in preparation for their next hit-out against New Zealand and it paid dividends as Rassie Erasmuss men maintained their 56-year winning record at over the Australians at Ellis Park.
Earlier, a loose carry from Folau Faingaa when he should have held onto the ball and an obstruction penalty against Reece Hodge put Australia deep in their own half for the majority of the opening ten minutes before a sensational box kick from White alleviated pressure.
Springboks No.8 Francois Louw went digging at the breakdown and turned the ball over for his side.
South Africa went right and managed to expose an overlap, which saw No.9 Jantjies register a five-pointer on debut.
Foley brought scores back to 7-3 after 17 minutes with a penalty before controversy erupted over a Salakaia-Loto's no try.
The Television Match Official deemed that Kerevis last pass had gone forward into Salakaia-Lotos hands. Foley tried to take a quick conversion – knowing it might have been dubious – but the referees had every right to bring it back.
It was a critical moment to say the least.
Andre Esterhuizen was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Banks in the 21st minute and the Wallabies looked to capitalise on having an extra man.
However, the visitors went down another try when Lood de Jager picked and drived his way over the line from short range.
With just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half Australia had a lineout close to South Africas line. The throw was good and they tried for a driving maul but decided to use it out the back.
Kerevi managed to pop the ball out the back and Banks threw a pin-perfect pass to Haylett-Petty, who used his strength to burrow over the line.
Haylett-Petty couldnt repeat his excellent effort a few minutes later though when he dropped the ball cold over the line after a deft kick from White.
New Zealand 18-25 Argentina: Pumas create history with victory in Christchurch
Argentina beat the All Blacks for the first time in New Zealand to move top of the Rugby Championship.
Winger Emiliano Boffelli kicked 20 points as the Pumas won 25-18 in Christchurch to pile the pressure on All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
The Pumas triumphed over the All Blacks two years ago in Sydney in another Rugby Championship match.
Earlier, two tries from flanker Fraser McReight helped Australia get past world champions South Africa 25-17.
In Christchurch, the All Blacks had led 15-6 early on thanks to tries from Samisoni Taukei’aho and Caleb Clarke and, after going in at the break 15-12 ahead, Richie Mo’unga’s second penalty extended their lead.
But Boffelli’s boot kept the Pumas in the game and flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez scored an opportunist second-half try.
New Zealand’s ill-discipline throughout the match cost them dearly and they played the last nine minutes with 14 men after a yellow card for Shannon Frizell as they suffered a sixth loss in their past eight Tests.
The victory gives Argentina successive wins in the Rugby Championship for the first time, after their impressive 48-17 thrashing of Australia two weeks ago.
“I’m very proud of our team – we are starting to believe what we can do,” said captain Julian Montoya. “I’m very, very happy and very, very proud. It’s a very special moment for us.”
In Adelaide, after slow starts in their first two Championship games, the Wallabies were on top from the start against the Springboks, McReight barging over in the opening minute.
Noah Lolesio converted and added a penalty as Handre Pollard missed two kicks before getting South Africa on the board.
The Wallabies lost Tom White to a yellow card after half an hour but the defence held firm, both McReight and Marika Koroibete making try-saving tackles.
South Africa then started the second half with 14 men after Faf de Klerk was sin-binned a minute before the break and the Wallabies took advantage with Koroibete finishing off a smooth move before McReight dived over for his second try.
Kwagga Smith replied with two tries for the Springboks in the final five minutes but Australia continued their nine-year unbeaten streak on home soil against the world champions.
“We started the game well and that put us in a good position,” said Australia captain James Slipper. “There were parts of that game where we had to show a lot of character, and we did that.”
Also in Adelaide, New Zealand’s women ran out 22-14 winners against Australia as both sides continued their Women’s World Cup preparations.
Debutant Bienne Terita scored a pair of tries for the Wallaroos, who had lost 52-5 to the defending champions in Christchurch last week.
But the Black Ferns were too good again with Luka Connor, Joanah Ngan-woo and Kendra Reynolds all crossing for tries.
The sides meet again in their World Cup opener on 8 October.
Freddy Rincón: Former Colombia captain in critical condition with severe head injuries after car crash
Former Colombia soccer captain Freddy Rincón is in critical condition with severe head injuries after being involved in a car crash in Cali, the hospital treating him said in a statement.
World Cup glory
Fantasy Premier League tips gameweek 19: Cristiano Ronaldo, Son Heung-min, Bukayo Saka and more
The news of Liverpool vs Leeds’ postponement leaves a lot of managers in the lurch. Most of us have at least three players who will not be playing on Boxing Day, with captaincy favourite Mohamed Salah one of them. Where do we turn with our most reliable points-scorer suddenly wiped out?
It requires a bit of restructuring and probably a -4 hit but moving to Ronaldo, who travels to Newcastle, may not be a bad idea. Though Salah could return quickly against Leicester and Chelsea, the Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching and Manchester United’s fixtures are strong, with an expected double gameweek on the horizon.
A more straightforward move is Salah to Son. Many managers could do it with their weekly free transfer and there is good reason to back the Tottenham winger, who scored against Liverpool last time out and has an enticing run of fixtures coming up and a likely double in gameweek 22.
Crystal Palace’s defensive numbers are still among the more impressive this season but are stronger at home than away and have faltered slightly of late, while Tottenham’s attack is gradually picking up under Antonio Conte. After the visit from Patrick Vieira’s side, Spurs face back-to-back trips to Southampton and Watford.
After three consecutive impressive wins, Arsenal assets are all the rage this week, with heavy investment in the band of young, exciting attacking players at Mikel Arteta’s disposal. Gabriel Martinelli was a late call-up to our picks last time around and duly delivered, while Emile Smith Rowe keeps on scoring even as a substitute.
If we had to pick one for this weekend’s trip to Norwich though, it would still be Saka. He has a better chance of starting long-term than Martinelli and he has more impressive underlying numbers than Smith Rowe. In fact, those numbers have gradually ticked up after a slow start to the season, with an average of 0.6 non-penalty xG+xA over the last six games.
While Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe are all popular picks this week, one thing to look out for is an unusual split coming up in Arsenal’s fixtures, where their schedule is a lot better from a defensive perspective than an attacking one.
With that in mind, 4.8m-rated Tierney offers a slightly more adventurous route into Arsenal’s backline than either goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale or the cheaper Ben White. The concern with Tierney, as ever, is injury and whether he can be trusted to start games during a tight schedule, but at a low ownership of 6.4%, he may be worth the risk.
With all these heavy hitters to swap around and squad restructuring to do, it can be useful to leave money in the bank for flexibility. But at the same time, we need a deep squad in order to cope with the postponements and rotation. It is difficult to find players in the cheap but reliable sweet spot.
Broja is one of the better budget options. He carries a rotation risk himself and can get substituted early but, with Che Adams and Adam Armstrong still making their way back from injury, the 5.1m-priced Southampton striker should get enough minutes going forward to earn points, while freeing up funds to spend elsewhere.
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