Australia 41, South Africa 39 in Bloemfontein (Tri Nations; Mandela Plate)
Australia avoided the wooden spoon in this competition by defeating South Africa in Bloemfontein for the first time since 1933. A last minute penalty goal by Kurtly Beale sealed the victory after South Africa worked their way back from 6-31 down at one stage. As per last week, Australia dominated initially, built up a big lead only to have the South African's capitalise on errors and work their way back into the game.
The winning moment. Image unashamedly poached from planet-rugby
Oh so many questions. So many highs and lows for both teams. Australia scored more tries than South Africa and deserved their win but a win to South Africa looked certain with two minutes to go.
Australia I feel has the positives from this outcome. This is a young side. Looking at next years Rugby World Cup they look the team that will be the improving unit. They are young and inexperienced compared to South Africa and New Zealand. By next year, as Robbie Deans indicated last month, they will that much more experienced and wiser. Despite a mixed Tri Nations campaign, to me the future looks good for Australia.
I cannot say the same for South Africa. 2010 has been a dreadful season. Experienced players have lost form, newcomers have not made their mark and the overall unity that surfaced last season is missing. The coach, Pieter de Villiers, has made plenty of public blunders when talking about rugby and his team. He has, off the field, been an embarrassment to South African rugby. That's been tolerated whilst, as in 2009, the team was winning. Now in 2010 the South African rugby team and its management has gone pear-shaped. It don't look good!
Some interesting comments from planet-rugby forum.
From Robo. "For South Africans let's hope that this defeat signals the end of a dismal Springbok coaching career that produced endless controversy and a dismal Tri-Nations for supporters. Evident is that Peter de Villiers does not possess sufficient skill, knowledge of the game or selection skills (or selection gumption!) to take the Springboks anywhere. They haven't progressed one iota this season. Not an original idea or approach. The game moved on and the Boks marked time. An utterly clueless coach. His self-proclaimed "brilliant defensive system" was non-existent in the first quarter of this game - and it lost them the game. After that it would seem that mainly guts and pride brought the Boks respectibility. And yes, there were touches of real skills, not least from Victor Matfield. If the Boks had run the ball in that last minute and a half they almost certainly would have won, but no, it was back to the old, worn-out bash game, and it got them nowhere. What a waste of a season Peter de Villiers has produced! All the hopes dimmed and then expectation of Bok recovery dashed, accompanied incessantly by idiotic P Divvy side shows. One thing is evident, only lunacy in SARU would permit this debacle to continue - but, that said, I'm not counting out lunacy winning.
Congraulation to Robbie Deans. He finally got what he deserved".
Pintails1 said.."A thrilling game for all wrong the reasons. The Boks have not once been ready for an 80 minute encounter during the entire Tri-Nations. Aside from Steenkamp, Matfield, Berger, and Morne Steyn (and even in his case only because of his exceptional goal-kicking), this entire team needs to be reengineered and it should be clear that PDV is not the man for the job. First team players who do nothing for long periods of time and players who come off the bench and consistently concede vital penalties should not expect to keep their places in a team of the Springboks' stature. I must laud the All Blacks and the enthusiasm of the Australians and bemoan the pedestrian and complacent Bok performances in 2010".
And from MediaB. "I hope Peter de Villiers stays. He has Character and says what needs to be said. All the Tri Nations games were tight so lets cut this BS about any coaches needing to be sacked based on performance here. The journos were saying Robbie Deans was irredeemable last week. Those media swine play far too bigger role in rugby".
What are your thoughts?