Boks blown away Down Under
Wallabies bag bonus-point win in Tri-Nations opener
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: 23/07/11 5:17pm
Australia put in a dominating display in Sydney
Australia blew away the memory of last week's humiliating defeat by Samoa with a comprehensive 39-20 beating of the Springboks in their Tri-Nations opener on Saturday.
Robbie Deans' men dominated in every department in Sydney, running in five tries through Ben Alexander, Digby Ioane, James O'Connor, Stephen Moore and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
O'Connor added a further 14 points with the boot to take his tally for the game to 19.
The Boks replied just twice through Chiliboy Ralepelle, who crossed for his first Test try mid-way through the second half, and captain John Smit who scored with five minutes to go.
This was a vastly different Wallaby outfit to the one that capitulated so miserably on the same pitch just seven days earlier. This was a Wallaby side out to silence their critics from that humbling ordeal.
And silence them they did, in some style too, dazzling in attack, resolute in defence, bossing proceedings all over the pitch and bristling with confidence throughout.
The injury-hit Springboks were missing 20 frontline players but had dearly wanted to shake off the Springboks-Lite label and convince the world they were not a second-string side.
But lightweight they were and sadly, until they return to somewhere near full strength, it is a tag the world champions will be forced to continue to wear.
The opening try came after just seven minutes, through a fabulous counter attack by Aussie playmaker Quade Cooper after the Boks spilled the ball while pressuring close to the Wallaby line.
Cooper dummied a clearance kick then stepped inside and burst through the Bok line into space to race upfield before feeding Kurtley Beale.
Beale delivered the offload to O'Connor over on the right as the South African defence scrambled hopelessly back inside their own 22.
The young winger was hauled down short but lightning quick ball from the breakdown found Rocky Elsom over on the left, who fed Alexander to run in for the try - O'Connor converted to make it 7-0.
The Wallabies struck again almost immediately, when Will Genia broke out straight from the kick off with a 25-metre burst back into Springbok territory.
Genia delivered the offload to Ioane who raced for the line, beating Gio Aplon with a neat sidestep before touching down.
O'Connor missed the conversion to leave Australia leading a stunned Springbok outfit by 12 points with only 10 minutes gone.
Fly-half Morne Steyn pulled three back for the Boks just short of the half hour after Ashley-Cooper was pinged at the ruck.
But six minutes later O'Connor was able to restore the 12-point advantage when Werner Kruger was penalised for an infringement in the scrum.
With the Wallabies dominating proccedings all over the pitch South Africa were handed a lifeline on the stroke of half time when the hosts collapsed a maul.
Steyn slotted the vital three points to take his side into the break 15-6 down but, with the Aussies fired-up, this weakened South African unit clearly had an uphill struggle ahead.
That message was compounded right from the restart as the Wallabies immediately made it clear there would be no let up, taking just four minutes to strike again through another sparkling play by Cooper.
Genia whipped the ball out from a seventh phase breakdown inside the Springbok 22 and Cooper collected to set off on a crossfield run to open up the Bok defence.
His pass out to O'Connor wasn't the finest but 21-year-old showed expert hands to take the catch down low and scramble over in the right corner.
Three minutes later they heaped more misery on the world champions when Moore set off from a Wallaby line-out and blugeoned his way through to grab the bonus-point try for the hosts.
O'Connor booted the extras to make it 29-6 and three minutes later he added three more when Kruger was again penalised at a scrum.
Things were going from bad to worse for the Boks and within two minutes they were rocked again when Ruan Pienaar's pass was intercepted close to the halfway line.
Once more the mercurial Cooper was at the centre of things, putting in some great build up work with O'Connor before providing Ashley-Cooper with the scoring opportunity.
Cooper needed just his fingers to send a delightful flick over to Ashley-Cooper, who backed himself to beat the Bok defence and burst over for the Aussies' fifth.
O'Connor converted to stretch his side's lead to 39-6 but two minutes later the Springbok faithful finally found something to cheer, when Kruger's replacement Chiliboy Ralepelle crossed after the pack had driven the ball up to the Wallaby line from a lineout.
Patrick Lambie, on for Steyn, slotted the conversion right on the hour to take the score to 39-13 going into the final quarter.
With five minutes to go Smit added a touch of respectability to the scoreline, van der Linde battered his way forward before being stopped in front the posts, the skipper grabbed the ball at the breakdown and barged over for the try.
Lambie converted to make it 39-20, but by now there was no way back for the Boks and the only positive they will take from the game will be the harsh lesson in Test rugby this young side were given.