South Africa bounce back to overpower Wallabies and end wretched Australian record

Australia vs South Africa live: Score and latest updates from the Rugby Championship - AP
Australia vs South Africa live: Score and latest updates from the Rugby Championship - AP
  • First-half try from Moodie on debut gives South Africa 12-3 half-time lead

  • Wallabies struggle to fight back in second half as Mostert and Mapimpi add further Springbok scores

  • Late Samu score gives hosts consolation in first home loss to Springboks since 2013

South Africa snapped their wretched run in Australia with a win over the Wallabies that was illuminated by a try on Test debut by teenage wing Canan Moodie.

Damian de Allende, Franco Mostert and Makazole Mapimpi also scored for the dominant Springboks, who threatened to cut loose as they registered a first away triumph in this fixture since 2013. Eben Etzebeth was imperious throughout.

In a tetchy and fractured encounter at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Jacques Nienaber’s men were comfortably the better side and resurrected their prospects of taking The Rugby Championship. After four rounds, all four teams have two wins and two losses.

A sizeable contingent of Springboks fans were in situ and made their feelings towards Nic White heard, booing the Wallabies scrum-half as he readied himself for box-kicks. This was doubtlessly a reaction to White’s part in the sin-binning of Faf de Klerk in Adelaide.

Spurred to end a curious hoodoo, South Africa began well and squeezed their hosts through the familiar medium of their line-out maul. Australia held on initially, surviving a couple of teasing kicks across their 22, but subsided in the ninth minute.

Damian Willemse, installed at fly-half in the absence of Handre Pollard, danced past a number of tackles and Jaden Hendrikse sniped close after taking a quick-tap penalty. Then the heavies took over, De Allende finishing after Etzebeth had stood tall and offloaded out of contact.

Before the conversion from Willemse, Matt Philip was yellow-carded for failing to retreat 10 metres prior to Hendrikse’s tap. Twice, as the depleted Wallabies attempted to find momentum, they were thwarted by breakdown penalties with Siya Kolisi’s scavenging prominent. Nevertheless, Australia stayed within seven until Philip returned and finally found some fluency around the half-hour mark.

Malcolm Marx was penalised for reaching beyond the ball and failing to support his weight at a ruck. Alan Alaalatoa made inroads and Etzebeth’s tackle on Rob Valetini was deemed as too high. Noah Lolesio landed three points.

With memories of their fast start now distant, South Africa spurned a big chance. Willemse flicked an offload out of contact to a rampaging Lood de Jager but Willie le Roux burrowed into the side of the breakdown deep in Australia’s 22. Then, on the cusp of half-time out of a rather nondescript situation, Moodie arrived.

Hendrikse hoisted a box-kick towards Marika Koroibete to instigate an aerial exchange. Moodie skated through gold shirts in pursuit and sprung above his opposite man wonderfully. The teenager, clearly a balanced runner with plenty of admirers, found his stride on landing and glided clear.

Canan Moodie of South Africa scores a try during the Rugby Championship Test match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia, 03 September 2022. Australian Wallabies vs South African Springboks, Sydney, Australia - 03 Sep 2022 - SHUTTERSTOCK
Canan Moodie of South Africa scores a try during the Rugby Championship Test match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia, 03 September 2022. Australian Wallabies vs South African Springboks, Sydney, Australia - 03 Sep 2022 - SHUTTERSTOCK

Willemse could not convert but a 12-3 advantage, at the end of a bitty half with South Africa’s defence strong, felt significant. And that was before a dramatic break in which Taniela Tupou, Australia’s replacement tighthead, appeared to fail a fitness test.

South Africa’s third try, igniting the second period and hinting at their attacking potential, was a beauty. Frankly, it will be problematic for everyone else if they can replicate such dynamism and flow with any consistency at the 2023 World Cup.

Le Roux’s foray from the back-field created a dent before another offload from Etzebeth helped to free Kolisi out wide via Jesse Kriel. Steven Kitshoff, the flame-haired loosehead prop, even had a trundle on the Springboks’ left. When the ball was moved back to the right, Jasper Wiese offloaded to De Allende and Willemse and Le Roux combined to put in Mostert.

Injuries continued to blight Australia, especially in the backline. Lolesio and Hunter Paisami were both withdrawn for suspected concussions, which was more damaging for the fact that Dave Rennie had deployed six forwards on the bench. Reece Hodge was left to steer the Wallabies from fly-half and White moonlighted on the wing.

Moodie continued an impressive introduction by jamming in to clatter Koroibete and Mapimpi’s finish followed. From a scrum just outside the Wallabies 22, Le Roux ghosted into the 15-metre channel to outflank the defence in trademark style. Mapimpi was the beneficiary, yet saw yellow for instigating a mass scuffle by taunting Koroibete. Relishing the ill feeling, which had clearly built up over two games, and wearing an expression of wide-eyed menace, Etzebeth was in the thick of things.

Eben Etzebeth was never too far from the action - GETTY IMAGES
Eben Etzebeth was never too far from the action - GETTY IMAGES

Although the athletic Pete Samu would bag a consolation late on, with Le Roux going to the bin for a deliberate knock-on, South Africa were in no way flattered by the final reckoning and now face Argentina. Australia, meanwhile, welcome the All Blacks to Melbourne.

Match details

Scoring: 0-5 De Allende try, 0-7 Willemse conversion, 3-7 Lolesio penalty, 3-12 Moodie penalty, 3-17 Mostert try, 3-22 Mapimpi try, 3-24 Steyn conversion, 8-24 Samu try

Australia: R Hodge; T Wright, L Ikitau, H Paisami, M Koroibete; N Lolesio; N White; J Slipper, F Fainga’a, A Alaalatoa, R Arnold, M Philip, J Holloway, F McReight, R Valetini
Replacements: D Porecki, S Sio, T Tupou, D Swain, R Leota, P Samu, J Gordon, A Kellaway

South Africa: W Le Roux; C Moodie, J Kriel, D De Allende, M Mapimpi; D Willemse, J Hendrikse; S Kitshoff, M Marx, F Malherbe, E Etzebeth, L de Jager, S Kolisi, F Mostert, J Wiese
Replacements: D Fourie, O Nche, T Nyakane, D Vermeulen, K Smith, C Reinach, F Steyn, W Gelant

Referee: Mr B O’Keeffe

Yellow cards: Philip 10, Mapimpi 72

Australia v South Africa: as it happened

12:43 PM

Table as it stands

12:33 PM

Full-time: AUS 8 RSA 24

No, they won't, as they knock on at the restart.

That's the game. A fair result all told, but Australia were hampered by the loss of Lolesio and Paisami, not to mention the fact that Tupou was not fit enough to take part from the bench.

Table update incoming!

12:32 PM


Will Australia have time to push to deny South Africa an attacking bonus?

12:31 PM


A consolation for Australia with 90 seconds remaining after some good phase work in the Springbok 22.

Samu goes in at the corner after a whipping pass from White.

Le Roux has been sin-binned for a deliberate slap in the build-up.

12:27 PM

76 mins: AUS 3 RSA 24

Australia give it one last roll of the dice but Koroibete is not on the same wavelength as Holloway, with the flanker throwing the cutest blind offload into the wing's bread basket, but he puts it down.

South African scrum, on halfway, four minutes to go.

Australia have been well beaten today.

12:24 PM

That scuffle

Etzebeth and Allalatoa
Etzebeth and Allalatoa

Look at Etzebeth!

12:23 PM


Game over. A stunning nudge from Steyn wide on the left.

12:20 PM


The try is going to stand but Mapimpi is going to the bin. And rightly so.

If that had been in the act of scoring the try it would have been ruled out.

Mapimpi's a lucky boy; and he actually seems shocked by the call. Just take your medicine - the game's over.

12:16 PM


That's game over.

Lovely midfield movement sees Le Roux ghost and fade on the outside, he feeds Mapimpi in space who finishes in the corner. Koroibete tries to stop him - like last week - but can't.

And then Mapimpi rubs it in Koroibete's face - literally, with his hand - and then all hell breaks loose.

The TMO is involved now. It's unsavoury from Mapimpi.

12:13 PM

68 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Australia are running out of time.

In search of the score to make things interesting, Porecki is pinged for a neck roll at a ruck.

South Africa will now throw in on the Australian 10-metre line - but Swain steals, and Australia knock on.

Tale of the match, really.

12:07 PM

65 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Kitshoff is penalised for being off feet while he jackals and there's a bit of niggle that follows - between Kolisi and, shock of shocks, White.

Still, penalty Australia and Hodge gives them a line-out well inside the Springbok half.

12:05 PM

64 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Stunning from Swain and Valetini!

Swain gets up to pilfer the line-out and Valetini powers the Wallabies almost up to their own 22.

But they butcher the exit and Kolisi comes away with it - Australia are back under the pump again.

But Samu steals and Valetini thumps it downfield!

12:02 PM

62 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Ferocious De Allende leg drive gets him over the line but the centre is held up.

Australia believe they have earned themselves a goal-line drop-out but their timing was off on the line-out defence so we're back for a penalty.

Le Roux sticks it in the corner...

12:01 PM

60 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Just when the Wallabies looked to have a foothold - they earnt a line-out inside the South Africa half - they cannot win their own set-piece.

Willemse pins the hosts back inside their own 22 and they have to build from there.

Disaster... White's box-kick, from just outside the 22, is straight out - and it leads to a penalty from a quick line-out as Samu deliberately knocks down.

11:57 AM

57 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Heartbreak for Australia.

South Africa remain on a team warning, but there's a foul-play penalty against Alaalatoa for making contact to Kriel's head at a ruck, so South Africa come away with the penalty, which they clear to halfway.

The Australian commentators are (bizarrely) perplexed.

11:55 AM

55 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

A team warning for South Africa for multiple infringements.

That's lenient from Ben O'Keeffe - a Springbok should have walked there.

But we're off up to the TMO for a dangerous clean-out...

11:51 AM

53 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

Two quickfire penalties - one from Kolisi and another (harshly) against Wiese - sees Australia ramp up the pressure inside the South Africa 22.

The Wallabies go to the corner. They need a five-pointer here.

11:48 AM

50 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

A lifeline for the Wallabies, something to build on, as Hendrikse fumbles a flat White box-kick, giving Australia a scrum inside the Springboks' half.

They're feeding off scraps, the hosts, but it's a start.

11:46 AM

48 mins: AUS 3 RSA 17

It's all South Africa this half - and the Wallabies are under the cosh. Wright and Koroibete do well under tremendous pressure to clean up a testing Willemse kick.

But the Springboks come back at them through Kolisi and De Allende. Le Roux winds up the Hail Mary pass to Mapimpi - and it would have been a scoring one - but a stretching White saves the day with an interception.

A reminder, too, that Australia have lost both their 10 and 12 due to injury. So a serious reshuffle has been required.

11:43 AM


Willemse can't add the extras but it's still a handy 14-point lead for the Springboks.

11:40 AM


That's a real start for the Springboks - and it leaves the Wallabies with a mountain to climb.

It's a sumptuous try, really - one of South Africa's most skilful in some time. Etzebeth (twice), Kitshoff, Kolisi and Wiese all with delectable offloads or tip-ons and in the end it's too much for Australia, with Le Roux drawing in the last man on the overlap and feeding Mostert wide on the right.

11:37 AM

Back under way in Sydney!

Can the Wallabies fight back?

11:27 AM

A massive blow for Australia

Stan Sport reporting at half-time that Australia's breezeblock tighthead - on the bench today - is struggling with a calf injury and might not be fit enough to play in the second half.

That's a massive ask for starting tighthead Allan Alaalatoa - he's going to have to go the full 80, against South Africa of all teams.

11:22 AM

Half-time: AUS 3 RSA 12

A fairly even half, pockmarked by penalties, but a smash-and-grab by the Springboks at the end has put them in firm control of the tie.

Australia with it all to do in Sydney.

11:21 AM


It's a mile, mile wide from Willemse. Let's move on from that one - a real shank.

11:20 AM


Wow. Out of nothing. On debut.

Hendrikse puts the high bomb box-kick up. It's going down Koroibete's throat, the Wallaby wing is set to take it, doesn't get off the ground, and Moodie leaps like a salmon out of nowhere to take the ball uncontested and he fires away to score.

11:18 AM

38 mins: AUS 3 RSA 7

More penalties!

A gorgeous offload from Willemse sends De Jager clear but Le Roux comes in the side and Australia survive.

Hodge gives his side a line-out on their own 10-metre line.

11:17 AM

36 mins: AUS 3 RSA 7

Sloppy line-out drills after a mammoth Hodge clearance gives Wallabies possession on the South Africa 22 but some ruck wizardry from De Allende wins the ball back.

Wiese carries, Willemse hacks clear, and Ikitau is caught offside after Wallabies ignite the counter.

Line-out to South Africa just outside the Wallabies' 22.

11:12 AM


Well it wasn't entirely convincing considering the ease of the position but it's through and they all count.

Australia are up and running.

11:11 AM

31 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

Etzebeth catches Valetini high, bang in front of the sticks.

Slipper points for goal and Lolesio has an easy chance to reduce the deficit.

11:09 AM

30 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

Better rugby all round.

The Wallabies work the phases with Valetini and Koroibete making themselves known. Marx goes off his feet at the ruck and Australia dab it into the corner, inside the South Africa 22.

11:07 AM

28 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

So. Many. Penalties.

The line-out is overthrown, South Africa pounce on the ball, but they're off feet.

So Australia will throw in on the Springboks' 10-metre line.

11:04 AM

26 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

Hero to zero from Lolesio: the fly-half makes a half-break, spotting a gap between Kitshoff and Etzebeth, but a phase later his kick is a foot too long.

Out on the full, so South Africa will restart with a line-out on the Australian 10-metre line.

11:01 AM

23 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

This game is yet to set alight, with another error - from the Wallabies this time - resulting in a South Africa scrum.

Holloway sniffs an interception off Hendrikse but he knocks on. So we have another scrum.

Wiese spills under pressure from McReight but Willemse tidies up beautifully with a cross-kick to Moodie. He offloads inside to Kriel but the centre cannot hold the pass.

Australia scrum.

10:55 AM

19 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

It's a howler from South Africa's try scorer, De Allende.

White takes the goal-line drop-out, the Springbok centre controls well with his feet under no pressure on halfway, but then knocks on as he attempts to collect.

Scrum Australia just inside their own half.

10:53 AM

17 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

It's a penalty fest currently!

Wright comes in at the side of a first-phase ruck and now it's the Springboks who will throw in inside the opposition half.

10:52 AM

15 mins: AUS 0 RSA 7

Another penalty - harsh this time - against the Wallabies and South Africa go to the safety of the lineout maul.

Australia repel that impressively, forcing Willemse into a pretty abject chip which Hodge sweeps up comfortably.

White clears from the box-kick, Mapimpi is caught offside at the subsequent line-out, and the Wallabies will now throw in from well inside the Springbok half.

10:46 AM


An easy sighter for Willemse to open up.

10:46 AM


It had been coming. The Wallaby floorboards were creaking and they finally gave way.

Willemse sniped, Hendrikse jinked, but in the end it was the directness of Etzebeth offloading to his centre team-mate, De Allende, that seals it.

And Matt Philip is going to be the bin for a cynical tackle in the build-up.

A worrying 10 minutes for Australia.

10:43 AM

7 mins: AUS 0 RSA 0

Good pressure from the Springboks at the maul and they eke out the penalty for a side entry.

Back to the corner we go...

10:42 AM

5 mins: AUS 0 RSA 0

Good early defence from the Wallabies but Kishoff pressures Hodge's kick receipt and the hosts are back under the cosh, via an excellent, testing nudge from De Allende.

Australia get back in numbers, though, and clear to just outside their own 22.

10:38 AM

2 mins: AUS 0 RSA 0

A frenetic start in Sydney!

Both sides putting real pressure on at the breakdown with White caught at the back a couple of times.

Slipper is off the line too quickly on Etzebeth and South Africa will kick from halfway to the Wallaby 22.

10:36 AM

Here we go!

Where's your money?

10:34 AM

Today's line-ups

Australia: Reece Hodge, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Jed Holloway, Matt Philip, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: Dave Porecki, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, Andrew Kellaway.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Damian Willemse, Jaden Hendrikse; Jasper Wiese, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn, Warrick Gelant.

10:28 AM

Welcome to Sydney

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of a much-anticipated clash between Australia and South Africa in the Rugby Championship.

The Wallabies put in a strong display in Adelaide last weekend to beat the Springboks 25-17, restoring a semblance of pride in the green and gold jersey after a tough run of results, which included a series loss to England and a heavy defeat against Argentina in San Juan.

Head coach Dave Rennie names an unchanged starting 15 for this one, the first time he has been able to do so in his 26 matches in charge. Australia should really have won by more in Adelaide, with the concession of two late tries costing them a bonus point victory.

Their assistant coach Scott Wisemantel said: ““You’re filthy that you miss that point, you’re absolutely livid. We’re really disappointed with that last eight-to-10-minute period, and we had chances there, even when it was three tries to one we had another chance off a set piece to do something.

“We’ve got to be a little bit more cut-throat, a little bit more ruthless in that regard, so it’s definitely something we’ve spoken about and we’ve worked on.”

The Springboks meanwhile will be looking for a strong response having now dropped back-to-back games in the Rugby Championship. A home loss to New Zealand looked excusable on paper but their performance last weekend disappointed many, especially after the hype around them reached fever pitch after their opening round domination of the All Blacks.

Key injuries are proving a problem for coach Jacques Nienaber though and the loss of Handre Pollard in the No 10 jersey will be keenly felt. Damien Willemse steps in to replace him, with the experienced Wille Le Roux coming in at full back.