Australia coach hails matchwinner James O'Connor

Australia coach Robbie Deans has hailed the bravery of James O'Connor, whose late penalty dethroned world champions South Africa.

The Wallabies set up a semi-final showdown with New Zealand at Eden Park after O'Connor sent his 71st-minute kick between the uprights.



It capped a fine performance from O'Connor, the right winger who belied his slight frame to withstand everything the Springboks could throw at him.



"James showed a lot of courage defensively in his tackling, but he also showed a lot of courage in the air," said Deans.



"No doubt a lot of the South African approach was targeted at him. He not only stood up to it, but he also had the last say.



"He wanted that. He was looking forward to that opportunity to kick that goal.



"It's a great sign, it's a great trait in a competitor."



Australia will monitor the fitness of Kurtley Beale and Pat McCabe closely over the coming days after the duo sustained hamstring and shoulder injuries.



"Kurtley was tight. We're confident he hasn't torn his hamstring but we'll know more in 48 hours," he said.



"Pat was also talking up his physical state in the changing room, but once again we'll know more in the next day or two. He's a very willing man."



The defeat marked the end of an era for South Africa with grizzled veterans John Smit and Victor Matfield now entering international retirement.



Australia captain James Horwill admires their longevity and insists they will be missed in the Test arena.



"They're two excellent servants, not only of South African rugby but also world rugby," said Horwill.



"They're guys that have given their all to their provinces, to their country. They'll be sorely missed by the teams that they're leaving.



"Both of them have played over 100 Test matches and anyone who does that in today's age, it's a huge effort."



South Africa scrum-half Fourie du Preez insists the demise of the Springboks' World Cup defence is difficult to take.



"It's much harder to accept when you think about all the hard work you put in. To pull up short is heart-breaking," he said.



"It's been a long road for us and it's a sad exit."

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most