Rugby Union: Small steps into history: Australia level series

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The Independent Online
Australia. . . . 28

South Africa. . .20

JAMES SMALL, the winger who became the first South African to be sent off in an international when he was ordered off for dissent by the English referee, Ed Morrison, in the second international between South Africa and Australia here on Saturday, will be eligible to play in the third and deciding Test in Sydney next Saturday.

A three-man disciplinary commission headed by the International Rugby Football Board council member Norbert Byrne, of Australia, suspended the South African player for one game. He will serve his suspension during the midweek game against Sydney on Wednesday - a game which he would probably otherwise not have played in.

The Natal player, who scored two tries in the first Test, was sent off after 70 minutes for what the referee described as 'verbal abuse'. South Africa, who had been winning 10-3 after 10 minutes, were by that time losing 28-13 and went on to lose 28-20.

After the incident Small agreed that his temperament occasionally let him down. In the past he has been guilty of outbursts directed against opponents and linesmen. The Australian coach Bob Dwyer said that the South African winger 'had been riding on a knife's edge for some time'.

The sending off had marred the day for Australia, who restated - perhaps less emphatically than they might have wished - their status as world champions.

The fire and the passion missing in the first Test had been reignited by Dwyer through a combination of tough talking - he warned his players that another poor performance would attract a major personnel overhaul - and astute man-management. The only change in the side from the team beaten in the first Test, the inclusion of the former Fijian international Ilie Tabua, proved an overwhelming success. The flanker, voted the man of the match, had an outstanding international debut. He tackled the South Africans to a standstill while his darting runs created scoring opportunities for a sharp and eager back division.

Tabua's high work-rate was based on an impressive performance from the tight five, who were efficient in set-pieces and in the loose. Australia were well serviced by their former captain Nick Farr-Jones and Jason Little, who scored two tries, and Tim Horan who touched down once.

The final score flatters the South Africans, at times overwhelmed by Australian power, pace and ingenuity. However their captain Francois Pienaar and the coach Ian McIntosh believe their team have the resources to win the series in Saturday's deciding match.

Pienaar identified the weaknesses in his side's game, pointing out that Australia had won the line-outs 22-10 and had dominated the scrums. McIntosh added: 'We'll be going back to the drawing board. We have a lot of work to do this week.'

Australia: Tries Little 2, Horan; Penalties Roebuck 3; Conversions Roebuck 2. South Africa: Tries Stransky, Olivier; Penalties Stransky 2; Conversions Stransky 2.

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

SOUTH AFRICA: H Reece-Edwards; J Small, P Muller, H Fuls, J Olivier; J Stransky, R du Preez; B Swart, U Schmidt, K Andrews, H Strydom, N Wegner, F Pienaar (capt), D Lotter, T Strauss.

Referee: E Morrison (England).