The All Blacks coaches who flew to Brisbane to spy on this weekend's Tri-Nations opponents, South Africa, must have been as bemused as everyone else by this extraordinary Test.
An Australian side humiliated in Christchurch seven days earlier humbled the Springboks 49-0. Quite what the All Blacks can now expect from Jake White's hapless, hopeless players in Wellington this Saturday is a matter of conjecture. It is true White is short of five core players - Schalk Burger, Bakkies Botha, Jean de Villiers, Marius Joubert and Ashwin Willemse - but so dire were the Springboks it is doubtful whether they would have turned the tide.
With Matt Giteau injecting penetration and vision outside Stephen Larkham, the Wallabies' midfield ran the game, prompting a slaughter by six tries to nil. They led 30-0 at half-time.
The match provided a valuable reminder of what the Australian backs can do, given space and missed tackles. The All Blacks will not forget the lesson for their own trip to Brisbane to play the Wallabies on Saturday week.
As for the Springboks, clueless acts were to be seen all over the field as they imploded, and without the forward grunt of Botha and Burger they look far from fearsome. Jean de Villiers' absence has removed the key co-ordinator of their back line. They will know that another performance as dreadful as this could see an early end of their international careers.
l The Springbok coach, Jake White, last night ruled himself out of contention for the élite director's job at the Rugby Football Union.
Australia: Tries Giteau 2, Paul, Holmes, Latham, Chisholm; Conversions Mortlock 5; Penalties Mortlock 2; Drop Goal Larkham.
Australia: Latham; Gerrard (Rathbone, 62), Mortlock, Giteau (Rogers, 67), Tuqiri; Larkham, Gregan (Cordingley, 40); Holmes (Baxter, 62), Paul (Hardman, 51), Shepherdson, Sharpe, Vickerman (Chisholm, 40), Elsom, Smith (Waugh, 65), Fava.
South Africa: Montgomery (Bosman, 60); Ndungane (Paulse, 55), Fourie, Olivier, Habana; Van der Westhuyzen, Januarie (Du Preez, 56); Du Randt (Andrews, 46), Smit (Coetzee, 66), Van der Linde, Rossouw (Van den Berg, 38), Matfield, Van Niekerk (Cronje, 65), Smith (Cronje, 11-20), Spies.
Referee: P Honiss (New Zealand).Reuse content