fast little loans
Perth, Australia – Australian veteran Nathan Sharpe said pride drove the Wallabies to a come from behind 26-19 win over South Africa in their Rugby Championship Test on Saturday night.
The Wallabies eased the pressure on coach Robbie Deans when they finally rediscovered their attacking edge to score 20 points in the second half and claw their way back to overpower the Springboks after trailing 13-3 at one stage.
With only one try in their two prior Bledisloe Cup defeats at the hands of New Zealand, the Wallabies looked in real danger of having their four-match winning streak against South Africa snapped with a listless first-half performance that must have made the under-pressure Deans anxious.
However, the unerring accuracy of Berrick Barnes, who was six-from-six with the boot, combined with second-half tries to reserve Scott Higginbotham and prop Ben Alexander to give the Wallabies a welcome win.
Wallabies captain Will Genia also limped off with a knee injury late in the game, leaving Sharpe, on an extended farewell tour having announced his retirement from international rugby months ago, to take on the captaincy role in the dying minutes.
Deans lamented the first 30 minutes from the Wallabies, saying they were inefficient with the ball and kicked too often, but Sharpe said they showed real mettle to regroup, especially after their embarrassing 22-0 loss to the All Blacks a fortnight ago.
“It (winning) means everything, we were playing one of the best sides in the world on our home turf and it doesn't get bigger than that,” he said.
“One thing about disappointment at losing in sport is that you get another chance to come out and show how much it means to you and I thought that was particularly evident tonight.
“We came from behind, which is not an easy thing to do against South African teams.
“It was a very gutsy effort from the team.”
Higginbotham had only been on the field for a couple of minutes when he broke a tackle and stormed over next to the posts in the 56th minute to score the Wallabies' first try of the night and give the home side a one-point lead that became three when Barnes made the simple conversion for a 16-13 advantage.
Morne Steyn levelled the scores at 19-19 with a penalty in the 68th minute, but only 60 seconds later Alexander crossed in the corner to make it 24-19, after the try was confirmed by the video referee.
A superb conversion by Barnes gave the Wallabies a seven-point lead that they held until the final hooter.
It was a bitter pill for the Springboks, who were themselves coming off a disappointing 16-16 draw with Argentina and looked to have the game at their mercy at the break, after scoring the only try of the first half when winger Bryan Habana dived over in the 20th minute.
Despite the defeat, Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers both said there were considerable positives from the performance.
Meyer said the result could be traced to a combination of a couple of simple mistakes and some missed opportunities, and said a yellow card issued to Tendai Mtawarira just before half-time was a pivotal moment in the match.
“The first 60 minutes we really executed well and put them under pressure,” Meyer said.
“A few soft moments in the game cost us and away from home you can't make those mistakes.
“There was a little bit of a lack of experience on the field and the Wallabies came back when it mattered.
“We showed improvement, but we're still not happy with the performance.” – Sapa-AFP