South Africa. . .12
A GRIM South African captain Francois Pienaar stopped short of saying that the English referee Ed Morrison was responsible for his country's defeat in the decisive third Test against Australia here yesterday.
However Pienaar, who led his country to their second series defeat in as many months, complained that the referee had allowed the Wallabies to 'employ tactics outside the laws of the game'. He also implied that the outcome had been influenced by the number of penalties awarded rather than the tries scored, noting dryly that South Africa scored seven tries to Australia's four but had lost the series 2-1.
While an appeal tribunal employing video equipment and a magnifying glass might find some of the criticisms legitimate, the inescapable conclusion of the three- Test series is that South Africa have to come to terms with the subtleties of the international game. There is still too much rigidity and predictability in what is without doubt an immensely powerful playing machine.
The response of Bob Dwyer, Australia's coach, to Pienaar's complaint was simple:
After the early exchanges Australia took the lead with two penalties from the full-back, Marty Roebuck, who recovered the rhythm and precision that had eluded him early in the season.
South Africa's stand-off, Joel Stransky, missed an early penalty but right wing James Small made amends for his childish behaviour in the previous Test - which had seen him sent off - with an excellent try. Tim Horan, whose game seems to lack the precision and inventiveness of his partner, Jason Little, threw an aimless pass to Damien Smith on the left. Small retrieved the bouncing ball at full speed and counter-attacked. The new full-back Andre Joubert drew Roebuck and put Small through with a beautifully timed pass.
After half-time South Africa lost their loose-head, Bali Swart, with a broken nose and with him went their superiority in the scrum.
Roebuck added two more penalties and then the incomparable David Campese sliced through the South African midfield and passed for the rampaging Horan to cross the line. South Africa bounced back when Pienaar finished off an excellent attack with a try, which Stransky converted.
The former Australian captain, Nick Farr-Jones said a tear-filled farewell to international rugby after the game. The 31-year-old veteran of 63 Tests originally retired from last year, but made a comeback after the Australians had injury problems.
Scorers: Australia: Try T Horan. Penalties M Roebuck (4). Conversion M Roebuck. South Africa: Tries J Small, F Pienaar. Conversion J Stransky.
AUSTRALIA: M Roebuck; D Smith, J Little, T Horan, D Campese; S Bowen, N Farr-Jones; A Daly, P Kearns (capt), E McKenzie, R McCall, G Morgan, I Tabua, T Gavin, D Wilson, Replacement: M Burke for D Smith.
SOUTH AFRICA: A Joubert; J Small, P Muller, H Fuls, J Olivier; J Stransky, R Du Preez; B Swart, U Schmidt, K Andrews, H Strydon, N Wegner, F Pienaar (capt), D Strauss, I Macdonald. Replacements: H Honiball for P Muller; J Styger for B Swart.
Referee: E Morrison (England).
First Test: Australia 12, South Africa 19. Second Test: Australia 28, South Africa 20. Australia win series 2-1.Reuse content