South Africa got their Rugby Championship campaign back on track after they produced a dominant display to defeat the Wallabies 24-8 in Sydney for their first win on Australian soil since 2013.
The Springboks were excellent throughout, controlling possession and territory and moving in front via Damian de Allende’s early try.
Noah Lolesio did reduce the deficit via a penalty but Canan Moodie’s debut score deservedly gave the visitors a 12-3 advantage at the interval.
It was a lead they would not relinquish as they continued to put Australia under the pump, with Franco Mostert and Makazole Mapimpi securing a fine bonus-point triumph, despite Pete Samu’s consolation.
After successive defeats in the Rugby Championship, Jacques Nienaber demanded a response and he received it. Despite being without stars Lukhanyo Am and Pieter-Steph du Toit, they were outstanding and utterly dominated the opening exchanges.
The forwards were physical and abrasive, controlling the set-piece battle, while inexperienced half-backs Jaden Hendrikse and Damian Willemse were also impressive.
It was Hendrikse’s efficiency from the base which set up the first try as he constantly shifted the point of contract in the opposition 22. Australia were manful in defence but they eventually folded as De Allende touched down from close range.
Matt Philip was sin-binned after the Wallabies infringed several times in the build-up to that try and South Africa remained in the ascendency, but they initially failed to add to their lead.
Their profligacy was an issue last week and there would have been concerns after they spurned further chances in Sydney, especially when the hosts got on the board through a Lolesio penalty, but the Springboks managed to stay on the front foot.
They were in complete control and finally extended their advantage through Moodie’s score late in the half. Hendrikse’s inch-perfect box-kick was matched by the chase and leap of the debutant, who rose above Marika Koroibete, brilliantly collected and surged across the whitewash.
Dave Rennie needed a vast improvement from his players in the second period but it failed to materialise as they struggled to get out of their own half.
The Springboks were simply brutal in contact, constantly sending their opponents into reverse in both defence and attack, but they also found some subtlety.
South Africa’s third try was a thing of beauty. Hendrikse was once superb in dictating the tempo before forwards and backs combined to send Mostert scampering over.
Willemse, for the second time in the match, missed a difficult conversion, but it did not matter and they secured the win when Willie le Roux sent Mapimpi away, who held off Koroibete to score.
The Bok wing, in rather petulant fashion, reacted to his opposite number for some unbeknown reason, which set off both sets of players.
After it had calmed down, Mapimpi was correctly handed a yellow card and Le Roux then followed him off the field late in the encounter, but by that point the result had already been decided, despite Samu’s consolation.
Tries : Peter Samu (79′)
Penalties : Noah Lolesio (32′)
South Africa 24
Tries : Damian de Allende (9′) Canan Moodie (39′) Franco Mostert (43′) Makazole Mapimpi (72′)
Conversions : Damian Willemse (11′) Frans Steyn (73′)