Rugby Union: Campese the conspirator for Australia: World Cup holders lean on experience to subdue spirited South Africans and clinch Test series

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Australia . . . .19

South Africa. . .12

NICK FARR-JONES, playing in his 63rd and last international for Australia, was the object of a record crowd's affections as he led his side on a lap of honour after their victory in the third Test here on Saturday. It was David Campese's celebration, too. The winger silenced his critics with a display of skill, control and inventiveness.

His genius seems to blossom in adversity and the history of this strangely symmetric Test series - Australia won the last international with the same score it lost the first - could perhaps be encapsulated in his unique ability to bounce from despair to delight in such a short time.

He was the villain of the piece in the first international and the crowd bayed for his blood. He was the hero of the third when he darted and probed, cajoled, teased and eventually subdued the mesmerised opposition.

The frustration of the South Africans, as they watched the post-match celebrations at the Sydney Football Stadium, was understandable: so close and yet so far. They commenced with a spectacular three tries to nil win in the first international. The Wallabies recovered to level the series with a sizzling display of running rugby in the second. It looked as if the script for the third and decisive encounter was designed by Hollywood marketing executive. It had all the ingredients of a gripping thriller; drama, passion, heroes, and of course, villains.

The condemnation of the tourists for the alleged rough-house tactics re- emerged in the local media prior to the game but the South African management took it in their stride with grace.

A victory for South Africa would have been a marvellous reward for all the hard work the captain, Francois Pienaar, and his men have put in on tour. However, it would have been a misleading signal, too for the coach, Ian McIntosh and his squad.

South Africa, though vastly improved compared to their early outings last year, are still in the development stage. The McIntosh method needs another year of gestation before it bears fruit. That is if he gets the time. The South Africans returned home yesterday to a lambasting for their performance in the final Test.

'It's Mac's fault,' declared the Afrikaans-language Rapport newspaper in a front-page headline, referring to McIntosh. The paper quoted former South African players as saying inflexible, predictable tactics and wrong team selection led to defeat.

The Australians, on the other hand, succeeded in showing that the loss of the Bledisloe Cup to New Zealand was an accident and that the Wallabies are still a force to be reckoned with.

As he prepared to announce the touring squad for their trip to Canada and France next month - the last major foreign undertaking before the World Cup - the Wallaby coach, Bob Dwyer, hinted that he would like to bring in a few new faces, but said it would be 'fatal' to introduce too many, too soon. 'This tour is the last major tour we'll have before the 1995 World Cup,' he said. 'It's very necessary for us to pick stronger back-up strength in some positions to put pressure on the incumbents.'

Australia: Try Horan; Penalties Roebuck 4; Conversion Roebuck 1. South Africa: Tries Small, Pienaar; Conversion J Stransky 1.

Australia: M Roebuck; D Smith (M Burke, 38), J Little, T Horan, D Campese; S Bowen, N Farr- Jones; A Daly, P Kearns (capt), E McKenzie, R McCall, G Morgan, I Tabua, D Wilson, T Gavin.

South Africa: A Joubert; J Small, P Muller (H Honiball, 48), H Fuls, J Olivier; J Stransky, R du Preez; B Swart (J Styger, 45), U Schmidt, K Andrews, H Strydon, N Wegner, F Pienaar (capt), I Mcdonald, T Strauss.

Referee: E Morrison (England).

Comments