Australia coach hails matchwinner James O'Connor
Monday 10 October 2011
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."
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
How Real Madrid started copying Barcelona's old pass masters, and began reaping the rewards
Angel Di Maria injury: Manchester United sweat over fitness of record signing as he is in danger of missing Chelsea clash
Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Champions League match preview
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991 with most Brits wanting to stay in'