Wallabies, Springboks forced to settle for second draw
The Wallabies and the Springboks played out a second draw inside a month after an exhausting tussle in Bloemfontein ended in a 27-all final score.
The game was a see-sawing affair - with four lead changes in the second half - but both teams were left feeling very flat after neither could find the winning points.
After the two teams drew 23-all in Perth three weeks ago, the Wallabies retained the Nelson Mandela Trophy.
Springboks five-eighth Elton Jantjies had the chance to snatch a win for his team in the 78th minute with a kick 30 metres out near the sideline, but the sharpshooter pulled it slightly left and missed his first shot of the night.
It was probably a just result given the Boks had been in the Aussie's half courtesy of a blatant forward pass.
The Wallabies had a late attacking raid but couldn't get over the line after with a knock-on to Sean McMahon 15 metres out from the Boks line.
Former Storm flyer Marika Koroibete was a star performer for the Wallabies, scoring two tries and defending like a demon.
Along with inspirational skipper Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley were also impressive but it was a game where possession proved incredibly valuable and the Wallabies weren't able to hold onto the ball for long enough to make their attack count.
Both sides had their quibbles with referee Ben O'Keefe
but Israel Folau and the Wallabies had arguably the biggest break when the fullback wasn't sin-binned for a blatant hair pulling foul on Boys winger Dillyn Leyds in the first half.
The Wallabies led 13-10 at halftime after a grinding first 40 minutes but the second half was a roller-coaster.
The two teams traded tries for 16 minutes and the lead changed four times. The Wallabies led 27-24 with 12 minutes to go but Jantjies nailed a penalty to draw level and there the scored stayed.
"Two draws," Hooper said post-match.
"You can't split us. I am sure both teams extremely are frustrated."
The Springboks went straight on the attack and put Australian under pressure for the first ten minutes, but their defence held firm. Marika Koroibete grassed several runners with well-read tackling out wide.
The Aussies finally got their hands on the ball in the 10th minute and used a brilliant set-piece move from a scrum to score the opening try.
Will Genia picked the ball up at the base and picked out Bernard Foley running behind Tevita Kuridrani, who was steaming back towards the scrum on an angle.
Foley quickly shifted the ball on his inside hip to Folau, who sprinted through the line untouched and raced in 20 metres to touch the ball down.
The visitors allowed the Boks back in the game soon after though when they conceded two consecutive penalties in their own half and let the hosts camp on their line.
From a 5m line out, the Springboks sent forward runners toward the line and eventually Australia's tight defence was breached by prop Ryan Dreyer, who scored under the sticks.
The Boks began to look the more threatening side, offloading well, but the Wallabies jagged a penalty for a high tackle and Foley banged over three more points in the 21st minute.
Again, the Wallabies conceded points soon after though when Elton Jantjies replied with a 40 metre penalty.
The Wallabies botched chances to score in the last 15 minutes, when Foley kicked a penalty dead and Will Genia failed to see Michael Hooper looming in support after a clean break.
Genia kicked for Folau instead and he lost the race.
Foley nailed another penalty in the 33rd minute for a scrum infringement by South Africa.
The Wallabies were then very lucky to escape conceding a try - and possibly losing Folau for ten minutes - when the Aussie fullback pulled Boks winger Dillyn Leyds down by his pony-tail.
The incident almost sparked a brawl but when the Boks attempted to drive a line out in soon after, they overthrew and the Wallabies re-gathered the pill.
If the second-half was a tight affair, the second half proved the exact opposite.
The Springboks scored within two minutes of resumption after big flanker Siya Kolisi ran straight over Kurtley Beale and allowed Jan Serfontein to score an easy try.
The Wallabies responded swiftly, though, when they finally made some good carries and gave Foley a run at some backpeddling defence. He cracked it open and found Koroibete in support for a try down the right edge.
The roundabout swung again though and passive Wallaby tackling allowed the Springboks to score again inside three minutes, this time to Courtnall Skosan, who carried two men over the line.
The game settled a fraction but it was still a matter of who held possession held the upper hand, and after two home penalties gave then field position and the ball, the Wallabies scored again through Koroibete in the left corner.