Aussies boss Boks in Perth
Wallabies maintain Bok supremacy
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: 08/09/12 2:15pm
Australia made is seven wins from their last eight encounters with South Africa after battling to a thrilling 26-19 victory in Perth on Saturday.
After trailing 13-6 at half time thanks to a Springbok try from Bryan Habana, the Wallabies fought back after the break through Scott Higginbotham to wrest the lead from their guests.
And once they had their noses in front they never let go, despite the South Africans twice pulling level through the boot of Morne Steyn.
Each time Steyn struck Australia answered, with Berrick Barnes slotting four penalties plus two conversions.
And after Ben Alexander went over with 10 minutes to go the hosts made sure there was no way back for the Boks.
Morne Steyn opened South Africa's account four minutes in with a simple three-pointer after Wallaby hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was pinged for holding on.
Barnes levelled the scores on 18 minutes when Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira was penalised at a ruck.
But the Boks hit right back, and just two minutes later Habana spotted a gap as his side rucked on the Wallaby line and nipped over for the try.
Steyn converted to make it 10-3 to the visitors and five minutes later added three more to the tally with a fine 45 metre effort, thanks to Nathan Sharpe's infringement at a maul.
Barnes pulled three back for Australia just before the half hour mark and moments later South Africa lost Mtawarira to the sin bin for a shoulder charge on Kurtley Beale.
But the home side were unable to capitalise before half-time and went into the break trailing by seven points with the scores at 13-6.
Eight minutes after the restart though Barnes was able to close the gap to just four with another penalty after Ruan Pienaar was pinged at the ruck.
And on the 55 minute mark the Aussies grabbed the lead for the first time when Scott Higginbotham pierced the Springbok defence to bag the five points.
Higginbotham, who had entered the fray only moments earlier to replace number eight Radike Samo, rushed onto Will Genia's pass and blasted through two tacklers to score.
Barnes banged over the conversion to stretch his side's lead to 16-13 but Steyn levelled things up right on the hour with a tremendous long range effort from just inside his own half.
The Boks had handed the lead right back to the Aussies within three minutes though, when Juandre Kruger infringed at a ruck right under his posts.
Barnes made it 19-16 with an easy kick but Steyn soon had things back on level terms again after an Australian error at a maul just five minutes later .
The Wallabies were not going to let this one slip away though, and with 10 minutes to go Ben Alexander latched onto Cooper's pass as the Aussies attacked deep in Springbok territory to go over in the left corner.
Barnes nailed his conversion with a magnificent kick from the touchline to give his side a crucial seven point buffer heading into the closing stages.
The Boks fought back hard as the clock ticked down, pushing right up to the Australian line before a superb clearance from Cooper threw them right back into their own half.
Back they came again but the Wallabies had them covered and, when the ball came out to Cooper from a line out deep his own territory, the half-back hoofed into touch to seal a thoroughly deserved win.