Australia came very close to being embarrassed in their Tri-Nations match against South Africa at the weekend. After complaining about Jake White’s selection and his decision to rest most of his top players, if John Connelly’s team had lost, they would have had to eat their words.
When they went 17-0 down early in the match, it looked as though they would be completely humiliated. However, Stirling Mortlock and Matt Giteau inspired their team to fight back for a 25-17 win.
George Gregan and Stephen Larkham bade farewell to supporters after their last game on home soil, and they were lucky not to bow out in disappointing defeat.
On the evidence so far in the Tri-Nations, New Zealand still look like the team to beat at the Rugby World Cup. Australia will be there or there abouts, despite the weakness in the front five, whilst South Africa will be very difficult to overcome. The South is certainly looking like the strongest Hemisphere.