RWC 2011 Post-Match Reaction: South Africa 9 Australia 11

Update: South African coach Peter de Villiers has resigned following the Springboks defeat to Australia, ending a reign of nearly four years as Head Coach. No word yet as to whether his assistant coaches will stay on.

So it is the Wallabies who go through to the next round of the Rugby World Cup, taking on either the All Blacks or Argentina in the semi-finals after an unconvincing performance against the World champions South Africa.

Whilst brilliant at the ruck, where Pocock excelled, they lacked composure when under real pressure in the second half, with Quade Cooper producing a catalogue of erratic moments with fluffed kicks and loose passes. South Africa’s intensity in the tackle meant Australia failed to cut loose as we’ve seen them do so many times this year.

The Boks will not believe they lost this one. They bossed the territory, the possession, the lineout, and to an extent the scrum, and yet have ended up on the losing side thanks to a dubious penalty decision from the once again controversial Bryce Lawrence. From not making the most of the ball in the second half, they as a result are heading home.

What did you make of this morning’s game? Can Australia make the final?

73 thoughts on “RWC 2011 Post-Match Reaction: South Africa 9 Australia 11

  1. Once again, amazing composure from James O’Connor. He’s a young guy, but he did the business against NZ last year in Hong Kong, and he’s done it again now.

  2. “…thanks to a dubious penalty decision from the once again controversial Bryce Lawrence”…I am sorry but that is bull s***! Lawrence got all the big calls correct. He was consistent for both teams….sure he could have given more penalties to both teams…but he was consistent…The deciding penalty came from a call from the touch judge, and it was correct, the SA number 4 had Samo by the leg and he pulled him down. The forward pass in the first half that got called up….it was a forward pass. Did you even watch the game? Or have you just be listening to all the whinging SAFFAS on tiwtter?

    1. Firstly mate, watch your language.

      Secondly, of course I watched the game. The penalty was correct, don’t get me wrong, but was a combination of Roussouw taking Samo out and Radike falling on top of his own players. You don’t always see those given. Bryce didn’t even spot it.

    2. I do not agree, I myself am I referee and I have discussed the game with quite a few senior referees. His handling of the game was shocking. He let numerous “big” calls go with obvious effects. Something that referee’s call “groundplay” is something that he did not manage at all !

      1. Sorry for the poor language Ben. I simply don’t think the ref cost SA the game….they had all the ball, and they didn’t use it. There was no one call you can look back on, and say…that was the moment that the ref changed this game….he had a 6/10 for me….not great….but he let the game flow and was consistent. I agree that there needs to be more consistency in the way the game is ref’ed…NH ref vs SH ref always seem to call it different…NH = penalties galore for any small infringement. SH = open, free flowing game…where number 7’s probably get away with too much.

      2. “He let numerous “big” calls go with obvious effects. Something that referee’s call “groundplay” is something that he did not manage at all !”

        Well, I’m glad you didn’t ref it then as there would have been no flow. He gave enough penalties, not too many, not too few. If he did as you said it just would have been a kicking match between O’Connor and Steyns, and everyone would have been yawning. Instead, it was a real cliffhanger, with the reult in the balance right until the end. Really great match, maybe one of the best and certainly closest of the tournament so far.

    3. The truth is not biased and some interesting facts do imply ref Lawrence! Logically speaking 76% territory dominance and ONLY ONE SINGLE attacking team penalty benefit in that time. I am sorry but with today’s rules…that is IMPOSSIBLE! Since the attacking team should always get the benefit, these withheld penalties played a huge role in winning and losing and is ultimately one of the main contributors to the loss of the Springboks! Granted the Ausies where good at the break down, but not that good! Only one more penalty (of the many) during a 76% attacking time would have allowed the boks to win RIGHT FULLY. A better reflection of the game would show the nonexistent Ausies whipped with a score of Aus11 – SA 23. The better team lost and one of the best teams catching form bowed out of the WC. With one loss under the belt already and a doubtful factory over the Boks, Australia certainly do not deserve to go to the semis. I hope NZ kick there butt!!! Nobody wants to see an undeserving team like Australia win the WC. Hopefully next week we can sit here and listen to the Ausies moan about the ref too! GO NZ

  3. The Yarpies had something like 74% possession. They ruled the line out. Blaming the ref is just not an option.

    It was a brutal, brutal match. Cooper had a shocker. Scrums were even.

    Yet the Yarpies lost the breakdown battle and only rarely broke the line thanks to some epic defence.

    They had plenty of chances.

    Australia-Wales final.

  4. Yeesssss!!!!! 15 gallant men defeat 16 (15 brave men plus a cheating NZ ref). Pocock was immense. Lawrence appointed as ref was against IRB laws. The ref looked completely bias against Australia. Only lucky thing was assistant ref telling Lawrence to give late penalty for blatant pull down of the lineout jumper.

  5. very entertaininng stuff,

    aus were terrible, SA were worse, I’m sorry bit I’m tired of commentators saying that defense wins games, it is important yes. But if all the other team does is run into you all you have to do is tackle. Defense is important but bad attack loses matches as much as good defense wins them.

    Have people thought that if NZ wins, and they should, the semi-finalists will be exactly the same as in 1987.

    1. but this time hopefully wales will make the final and give anyone a run for there money…under rated…under the radar…underdogs……. love it

    1. Referring more to the attacking game, and even more specifically Cooper. Forwards were dogged and superb.

          1. It was actually quite a similar match to the tri-nations game in Durban this year. Only today they had even more possession and on that day, Cooper wasn’t flapping.

            South Africa were too old and predictable. Again.

          2. Yep, Aus always have the edge on them with tries. The outscored them on tries in the last 2 tri-nations matches against them. No surprise that today was no exception. They still have allot of work to do if they want to beat the AB’s, but they’re the only team that can beat them really!

  6. Oh please Australia got away with high tackles, hands in the ruck, slowing down the ball etc, the All Blacks will give them their just desserts

  7. Australia at the breakdown were great!! SA dominated !! Ref was shocking!! The game of rugby is just about back to a entertaining level, there has to be some consistancy in interp of the rules!!

  8. The ref wasn’t great, but aside from the second “forward pass” it was fairly evenly distributed between the sides. At the end of the day, if you can’t turn that control and possession into a win, you’ve no one to blame but yourselves. Remember Wales v Ireland this year in the Six Nations – Mike Phillips’ illegal try? Similar issue – bad decision, but didn’t take their chances.

  9. Yes, Pocock was immense, yes, O’Connor has an old head on young shoulders, yes, both sides did not capitalise on some chances.
    But, as we have seen too many times in this WC, the referee decides the outcome. Why have a NZ ref, with a ‘vested interest’ in the outcome?
    Massive, brutal game, but sadly spoilt by the choice of ref.

  10. It would be churlish to blame the ref. He had an ok game, with a few questionable decisions. The fact is, as Pienaar said after the match, you don’t want to put yourself in the position where a bad call costs you the game. Lack of composure and an inability to turn pressure into points is what cost the Sprinboks, pure & simple. No question they dominated possession & territory, no doubt they ruled the lineout and played most of the rugby. But they failed to take their chances and left the door open.

    1. Exactly. The players are usually the last ones to whine in these situations because they know full well, that you have to leave no doubt. The Aussies made an impressive 143 tackles to shut down the SA attack. They lacked their usual assertiveness in attack but the Safas had a really good game plan to stifle them and keep them pegged back in their own 22. It was a very tactical game that could have gone either way. Oz scored the try early on and had the impetus, and when that happens, it usually goes your way at this level. It was always going to be a close one.

  11. No, there is such a thing as game management and advantage, which if applied correctly would also allow for a flowing game ! Yes, SA also made a hash of many of their plays but I feel that the referee had a massive influence on our attacking plays. No one can argue that Bryce Lawrence had an absolute shocker ? Australia got away with murder at the tackle, ruck and maul situations and were allowed to disrupt our forwards, illegaly. Everyone should know that the Boks would trump the aussies upfront.

    1. Ha ha…

      ‘illegal’… even funnier.

      You do realise that is a complaint that has been levelled at the Boks by Australia since the dawn of time.

      Yes, the boks definitely have the edge on the Aussies up front (except in the openside position). Just like the Wallabies have the edge over the boks on their attacking skills.

      Go you Good Thing…

  12. Dubious Call?

    Did you look away from the coverage?

    Besides, it was a call from the Touch Judge… not the Lawerance.

    But he did have a shocker, with SA off their feet plenty of times in the rucks.

    But as someone else said, SA have only themselves to blame. If you have that much territory, and you don’t use it… well the result speaks for itself.

    But I’ll through one out there for you… how much of the Boks territory is as a result of the Wallabies poor / shocking play at times? What they lost 6 of their own throws? WTF? Matfield is good, but not that good!

  13. Crap ref but springboks got away with as much as wallabies got lucky getting. A lot of the win was down to bad luck. Had a couple passes by SA have been quicker they would not have been called forward. Aussies played stalwart defense and sporadic back execution. The breakdown was very confusing from the ref but I can’t say that wallabies got all the decisions. SA were all over this game. Should have been a big win regardless of the ref. Lawrence reminds me of Mignini. He’s not of standard and a fraud. Both teams played under this gaff and it was an even field.

  14. I agree that the ref has a job to do but this ref was not even trained properly.
    How does a professional ref not know what a ruck is. In my country England we were taught that you can not have hands in the ruck what is this nonsense and the tackles made were high.
    Is this ref pathetic or a amateur
    In the end you can see for yourself that the Aussies had a full 16 man squad.
    The ref spoil a good match and the IRB must consider to train their refs better not hire idiots.

  15. Suck it up blokes, the Boks lost because they could not finish off the plethora of possession that they had and showed some poor handling skills. The Aussies didn’t win the game, the Boks lost it pure and simple. Sure the Ref made mistakes, all refs make mistakes but to blame the loss solely on his mistakes and interpretations is inane. The Aussies actually had only 14 players on the field, Cooper was most definitely more of an assett to the Boks than he was to the Aussies.

  16. Blaming the ref is boring. The point is South Africa didn’t get the ball over the line when they had 74% of the territory and that simply isn’t good enough. Be pissed off about that, don’t blame the ref. Australian defence was immense and should probably be getting more recognition than it is.

    Now for the All Blacks…….

  17. well done the person who mentioned that it was the touch judge’s call…

    it was an amazing encounter, like a tri-nations game but with added defence.

    1. I was thinking that but then who at 12? Is McCabe fit? If not the Faingaa and AAC?

      And maybe Quade has one good game in him so it might be worth sticking with him. Plus he hates the AB’s and does well at unnerving McCaw.

  18. It was unbecoming to see that great sportsman Schalk Burger’s fumble be the cause of South Africa losing their crown – one in the eye, eh?

    1. Aussie did not win this game fair and square, again they win because the ref make sure that it will be easyer for NZ to win against Aussie than the SPRINGBOKS and this world cup is a disgreace to rugby, and who ever wins this cup does not diserve it

      Bryce Lawrence make sure that NZ will win the cup

      1. Although I would love it if we did win it, Aussie could very likely beat NZ this weekend. They played poorly (albeit they defended superbly) and still beat the Boks, so if the whole team plays well this weekend it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them win…In which case I guess you will stop moaning unless you change your conspiracy theory to one in which Mr Lawrence really wanted the Aussies or Wales/France to win

      2. New Zealand or France deserve it…NZ had no Dan Carter and Richie McCaw was injured…We deserve to was 40-7 only two months ago…you didnt beat Wales fair and Square and Now you are saying you are the best. NZ got cheated against in 07 – forward pass and in 95- Food Poisoning by a South African!!! and I really dont see what SA supporters are moaning about..that pass what blatently forward!!

      3. New Zealand or France deserve it…NZ had no Dan Carter and Richie McCaw was injured…We deserve to was 40-7 only two months ago…you didnt beat Wales fair and Square and Now you are saying you are the best. NZ got cheated against in 07 – forward pass and in 95- Food Poisoning by a South African!!!

        1. The prize, i.e. the Webb Ellis Trophy, is awarded to the winner of a knock out competition not the winner of a vote. Therefore whether or not a team ‘deserve’ it is a moot point.

          The winner will be the team who got to the final, and at the end of the final game have the most points, no matter whether they get those points via ‘ugly’ forward oriented rugby, ‘beautiful’ running back play, strategical kicking etc, or if they get away with a forward pass or hands in the ruck.

          If there is an award for the Peoples’ Favourite then merit comes into it.

      4. NZ clearly deserve it…we have been cheated against in 07- forward pass and in 95- Food poisoning by a South African!!….we have been the best team..we beat SA 40-7 only 2 months ago…NZ are by far the best team in the Tournament…SA couldnt even beat Wales fair and Square….

  19. I have no qualms with the reffing in this match i dont think there were exceedingly bad calls for either side. One thing i would like to point out is i fell the wallabies won fair and square and they did so with a fly-half with no brains they would have won by more if they had O’connor, giteau or Barnes

  20. All these complaints about the ref remind me of my fellow countrymen who kept (and keep) moaning about The Forward Pass in the AB vs France QF 2007. The reality is that the Boks, like the ABs back then had the opportunities to put enough points on the board to put Aussie well and truly away. They didn’t.

    I also don’t get the whole conspiracy theory about Lawrence having some motive about seeing one or other team win! Both teams are equally dangerous on their day.

    As an impartial observer I must thank the Wallabies and Springboks for putting together a wonderful spectacle yesterday. A shame that one of them had to go so early but there has to be a winner on the day!

    1. Agree completely Tana – the most annoying thing is the inconsistencies apparent in these people i.e. the same people who complain about the ref now would no doubt tell the Kiwis to “get over it” if they heard a complaint about “that” forward pass.

  21. I’ve played a lot of rugby and I’m sorry to say that pass was forward, he made an equally annoying decision against Quade Cooper for an offside by South Africa that he called a forward pass. Also Cooper made a try saving tackle. Composure isn’t all about attack, its composure in defence. There aren’t too many teams going around whereby they could flip their natural attacking game and play all out defence and hold onto a small margin. If I was the All Blacks, I’d be a little disturbed. Let everybody understand this . Australia don’t hold the AllBlacks in awe, we look them square in the eye and say “Game on brother” and get on with it, I’ve faced a few Hukka’s, thats what you do. No Northern Hemisphere team could have withstood that amount of pressure…none..maybe France after there amazing display against England. The Boks couldn’t break through the line and it was just pure grit and determination that got Australia over the line. Anybody who wants to see what rock solid defence can do against an attacking team, that is the game to watch. Have a look at the OZ captains try, splitting two massive defenders in half to get it over the line. Not pretty..but effective. Rugby can sometimes be an ugly bloody game..thats what we saw last night. Australia Wales Final…oh did I forget to mention..The All Blacks have no 5/8..Australia will do to that replacement what they did to Carlos Spencer in 2003…run at him all night long..Bring it on!!

    1. Tom, I agree with most of what you have said. Except the last part. In case you haven’t realised the reincarnation of Carlos Spencer is actually playing for the Wallabies – I kid you not! Like Carlos he was born in NZ, has tattoos on his arms, and, to get to the point, is hot and cold. Actually he possibly takes Carlos’ mercurial temperament to new extremes. When he is hot he is amazingingly good. And when he is cold…well it is never a good idea to throw a back flick pass on your own try line in a test match.

      Anyway, whether your boys win this year or not, I think that given their fantastic talent and general youth they will be the team to beat in 4 years time. Could be the start of another Golden Era. Pun intended. :-)

      1. Having been a 5/8 myself and played at state level in Australia as a youngster against and with guys went onto play senior grade at the top level I can tell you hot and cold days are part of the game. Some days you’re on and can find a way to play your game..sometimes not. The main thing is that the other players were able to plug the gap left by Quade Cooper. I’d put him in the next game, barnes at inside and who’s fit and ready at outside. Anybody who has watched the Super 14 would have seen QC carve a few teams apart. Great players can be unpredictable, some players feel they always have to be making the plays. QC has to learn to simply pass the ball..or chip and run. Lots of options and lots of talent outside. I think the All Blacks as much as they are a great team, will know that Australia will be rough and mean and not at all over awed by the semi. they beat them in the Tri-Nations remember.. if anything the All Blacks will be..”my do you get past that?” Australia are finally learning the All Black doctrine..make a mistake and you pay..any real mistake made by the springboks in their half..Australia made them pay.. the boks couldn’t do the same..Why? relentless pressure at the breakdown and defence. 148 tackles to speaks for itself and QC made one that saved the least give him credit for that.

        1. Not strictly true – the best players blow hot and luke warm, sometimes tepid but never cold. Like Will Genia, Dan Carter, David Pocock, Jacques Fourie. They never have a proper “off-day” but they do make the odd mistake. The difference with Quade is that he can have a bad day.

          Having said that he’s due a big performance and he has in the past pulled it out of the bag in some big games so he may well do it on Saturday.

      1. I wouldn’t say Ireland took Australia to pieces mate..Ireland played well they put in a huge finals performance in a pool game, pity they didn’t take the same game to Wales, they probably would have won. If Australia had of played the same way against Ireland as they did against South Africa..Ireland would have been the one in pieces. Who here has ever seen that kind of defence in a rugby game? Australia have a long history of sputtering in the pool matches, as they draw closer to the finals..they turn up the heat. Its a tournament and its about strength of character and mind as much as it is a physical contest. Australia have very organised defence and a very cunning counter attack, just like New Zealand, I’d say New Zealand are a bit rattled without Carter, they can’t score points off his boot so they have to work for every point they get. The first 20 minutes will set the pace. New Zealand know this..we respect them..we don’t fear them..most teams are yet to evolve to that perspective. On the psyche level we have the upper hand going into that semi. It’ll be a great contest.

        1. Tom: NZ will miss Carter for sure, but not for goal kicking…. Piri Weepu is a better goal kicker than Carter. They will miss his decision making, running game, and ability to control the game. Should be a good even contest. Looking forward to it.

          1. He’s a great kicker, what concerns me is the amount of tackling he’ll have to do..I suggest he will be doing with the rookie AB 5/8..all night long.

          2. Only problem with Piri’s goal kicking is that altough his accuracy is generally very good he has about 10m less range than guys like Carter and O’Conner. In a tight game that could be crucial.

            Agree that Carter’s ability to control the game is what will be missed the most.

        2. I wouldn’t agree about Aussie having the upper hand on the psyche level. Aussie definitely have the upper hand in being able to field a team closest to their best though!

          Yes it is well documented that the ABs have underperformed in almost all of the RWCs to date. However their record in NZ, including at the inaugural tournament, is undeniably outstanding. Eden Park is a fortress for them and one that the Wallabies haven’t cracked since long before the ABs started ‘choking’.

          They also appear pretty relaxed as a team off the pitch, and composed under pressure on the pitch, and I think a lot of that is due to many of the team having prior RWC experience.

          I guess on Sunday we will see which trend continues: Wallabies beating the ABs in semis, or ABs winning at Eden Park. Can’t wait!

  22. Alright I will give Cooper credit for putting in a good tackle :).

    I don’t think that the ABs are the same beast in terms of offense as SA though. I think that SA have been too reliant on the boots of Sharp Shooter Steyn and Super Size Boot Steyn for too long. Who wouldn’t make the most of their talents! On top of that they have had a gameplan based on tight forwards, high pressure defense and pouncing on mistakes for as long as I can remember. Both of which mean that they aren’t that creative when it comes to scoring tries.

    After saying that the ABs have become overly reliant on Carter to always do what needs to be done to win games. again, who wouldn’t? One thing is for sure and that is that the game this weekend is going to be huge!

  23. The truth is not biased and some interesting facts do imply ref Lawrence! Logically speaking 76% territory dominance and ONLY ONE SINGLE attacking team penalty benefit in that time. This is IMPOSSIBLE and looks very suspicious! Since the attacking team should always get the benefit, these withheld penalties played a huge role in winning and losing and is ultimately one of the main contributors to the loss of the Springboks! A better reflection of the game would show the nonexistent Ausies whipped with a score of Aus11 – SA 23. One of the best teams catching form bowed out of the WC and Australia certainly do not deserve to go to the semis with one lost under the belt already… I hope NZ kick there butt!!! GO NZ

  24. Noticed a lot of guys criticising that the South African public looking for excuses and blaming Bryce Lawrence for his performance.
    Being a true SA supporter and played with most of those guys on display for the Boks yesterday, I can firmly say that most people are getting this wrong.
    Yes Mr Lawrence did not get it right at breakdown situations but this worked both ways. As a player you are suppose to “play the ref” to best of your ability. In other words, get away with what you can. In this instance, Australia completely out-smarted SA.
    The Boks had so much possession and territory advantage, that they can only blame themselves for not being able to convert this advantage into points. This is mostly due to some great defensive efforts by Australia.
    Let’s not forget those passes were both forward, and Bryce got those ones right! Did he not, everyone down-under would have been crucifying him for it.
    I feel sorry for the Boks, as they all had a great game and ran hard at the defenders. Not every day you see an international team dominating Lineouts, Scrums, Territory and Possession and still lose. Very sad, but most of the Boks are at the end of their careers now and all feel they have lost out on this opportunity. On the brighter side of life, there were some youngsters who really pushed hard like Hougard and Lambie. (It’s been great experience for them which could help them in the next 2 world cups to come!)
    Last thing I would like to say is that I think NZ would have preferred to play SA in Semi. With the Boks, they would have known exactly what to expect. I would imagine that NZ are a bit worried facing Aus this weekend as the Boks threw so much at them, and they still managed to pull it out of the bag. This all while Cooper and Genia had “average games”. I’m Sure NZ will lift their game against Rivals Aus. Both teams obviously deserve to be in this Semi Final
    Make sure every SA supporter you discuss the SA-AUS with have some sort of Rugby knowledge before making general assumptions.
    Then there were 4!!

    1. Gotta say Roux that is one of the best appraisals I have read of that whole game, balanced and about the game played not the game people wished was played. SA have a huge respect for the Wallabies and vice versa, you could see the way the players were with each other after the game, it was a great contest, I felt sad for some of the old Boks, Matfield etc..all champions of the game and they give as good as they take. When a young team stands up to a very formidable and experienced team like that, its just respect all round. I’d love to see Australia play a full strength AB team, who knows it might work to their advantage, they might play Australia at their own defensive game..they are more than capable. Looking forward to it..its gonna be a big one.

    2. awesome assessment from a rugby man. if wales and Australia can pull out defensive displays like the qtrs we will see a fantastic final…. france and new zealand could possible choke again…

  25. As a Kiwi I think it really is sad to think that we will no longer see legends like Matfield and Smit playing at the international level. All good things must come to an end though, and at least most of the Boks finishing up now have tasted RWC success in 2007 which is more than most can say.

    As you have said though Roux, there is a lot of young and exciting, and now ‘blooded’, talent coming up through the Springbok ranks. I would love to see more of de Jongh and Aplon. The challenge I see for SA over the next couple of years is replacing the leadership qualities of the aforementioned greats Smit and Matfield – those are mighty big boots to fill. And not just in the literal sense either!

    1. Exactly, I saw footage of Matfield all smiles and congratulating the Wallabies after the game, I mean what a contest to go out on, he really was one of the best. A tough player and so skilful as was Smits. One player that really stood out for me was O’Connor, he’s only 21 and the guts and zero fear he had in the face of some of those massive Boks. Seriously the last time I saw an Australian team with that much guts was 2003. Its been a long hard road for Australian rugby, whatever happens in the semi’s I feel I’ve recharged my interest in the game, I zoned out for awhile. Great to see so many young players across al the teams playing with such passion.

    1. sounds like someones upset ! if the irb went with your suggestion the whole of the english team would not have been allowed to play…they looked like they all had massive hangovers from something….maybe blond itus…..

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