South Africa's storming opening half-hour created the platform for a 28-8 victory over Australia in an ill-tempered Rugby Championship clash. Although the bonus-point the hosts craved eluded them, the victory ensured that the tournament goes to the final weekend.
Tries from the hooker Adriaan Strauss, the full-back Zane Kirchner and wing Willie le Roux took them tantalisingly close to the extra point with their fly-half Morne Steyn adding two conversions and three penalties.
Australia's only try came from their debutant winger Chris Feauai-Sautia with two minutes left but they had scored first when Christian Leali'ifano had landed a penalty.
The match flared up several times as the physical Springboks and an Australia side who were desperately trying to stay in contention battered each other in search of possession. Four yellow cards were brandished by the French referee Jérôme Garcès.
South Africa's Flip van der Merwe and Duane Vermeulen were sent to the sin-bin, while Australia's Michael Hooper and Sitaleki Timani also spent time on the sidelines. Australia's performance, however, will no doubt raise concerns Down Under that they could become Argentina's first victim since they joined the Rugby Championship when they travel to face them in South America next week.
South Africa Kirchner; Le Roux, Engelbrecht, De Villers, Habana; Steyn, Du Preez; Mtawarira, Strauss, Du Plessis, Etzebeth, Van der Merwe, Louw, Alberts, Vermeulen.
Australia Folau; Ashley-Cooper, Kuridrani, Leali'ifano, Tomane; Cooper, White; Slipper, Moore, Alexander, Simmons, Horwill, Fardy, Hooper, Mowen.
Referee Jérôme Garcès (Fr).
Tries: Strauss, Kirchner, Le Roux
Cons: Steyn 2
Pens: Steyn 3