Boks kick way to victory

South Africa 25 Australia 19
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Joel Stransky completed a miserable week for Australia. Seven days ago Greg Smith's Wallaby side turned certain victory into an unlikely defeat against New Zealand in Brisbane. This time it was the World Cup hero Stransky who put the boot into their best-laid plans.

Stransky helped himself to a 25-point haul to give South Africa a Tri- Nations win they barely deserved. Stransky's one-man scoring show was hard to bear for an Australian team who produced a spirited comeback in the second half. Stransky's drop goal in extra-time had lifted the World Cup from the clutches of Australia's South Pacific neighbours, New Zealand, last July.

South Africa looked to be cruising when they opened up a 16-3 half-time lead but Australia hammered their way back into the game with a free-running display that had the Springboks gasping for air. An interception in injury time by Stransky relieved the pressure and gave South Africa the precious moments downfield to kill off Australia's fightback.

The Wallabies had started well enough with an early penalty goal from Matt Burke but Stransky levelled almost immediately, and in the 20th minute Stransky was well placed to scoop up a loose ball and dive over the line after the wing Justin Swart had been stopped short. Stransky added the angled conversion and two more penalty goals to leave Australia with an uphill assignment. Burke's withdrawal at the interval did not help but you would not have noticed as the Wallabies piled on the pressure from the restart.

The Australian captain, John Eales, who took over the kicking duties, kept Australia in touch with three penalty goals but even that did not seem enough as Stransky continued converting penalty chances.

In the 73rd minute, the Wallaby flanker Michael Brial burst down the right, and as the ball travelled back across South Africa's posts, the left-wing Ben Tune powered in to score. Sadly for Australia, it was too late.

SOUTH AFRICA: J Small (Natal); J Swart (Western Province), J Mulder (Transvaal), B Venter (OFS), P Hendriks (Transvaal); J Stransky (Western Province), J Roux (Transvaal); O Du Randt (OFS), J Allan (Natal), B Swart (Transvaal), J Ackermann (N Transvaal), M Andrews (Natal), F Pienaar (Transvaal), G Teichman (Natal), R Kruger (N Transvaal). Replacements: L Strydom for Ackermann 37, J van der Westhuizen for Roux 57.

AUSTRALIA: M Burke (NSW); B Tune (Queensland), D Herbert (Queensland), P Howard (ACT), D Campese (NSW); S Bowen (NSW), G Gregan (ACT); D Crowley (Queensland), M Foley (Queensland), A Heath (NSW), J Welborne (NSW), J Eales (Queensland), M Brial (NSW), T Gavin (NSW), D Wilson (Queensland). Replacement: J Roff for Burke 55.

Referee: D Stirling (Ire).