Close, but no cigar for Wallabies

Wallaby coach John Connolly felt his team did enough to win the Vodacom Tri-Nations clash with the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Wallabies were level 3-3 at the break, but were then outscored in the second 40 minutes as the Boks turned up the heat and ran out comfortable 24-16 winners. Second half tries by Fourie du Preez and super-sub Breyton Paulse helped give the Boks a deserved win.

The Wallabies only managed a solitary try by flyhalf Stephen Larkham. The Wallabies though never gave up, but in reality were always playing catch-up. “I guess we are really disappointed with the result,” Connolly said afterwards. “Our execution let us down. We had a few borderline calls, but we trained very well this week and gave ourselves the best chance possible.”

Connolly did find some positives from the game. “Positives are our lineout competed well and there was no lack of effort, but we just didn’t gel. We are, however, delighted with our progress in the Tri-Nations. We can take quite a bit from the competition.”

Connolly felt the Boks competed much better than the two previous encounters this year, especially in defence. “We probably played a bit flat and they put us under pressure. We gave away too much ball at the back of the lineout, but we have no excuses and it just shows that South Africa are difficult to beat here especially at altitude.”

Wallaby captain George Gregan though felt it was on attack that the Boks were much improved: “They had a bit more direction in their attack and found good field position with some excellent tactical kicking. They started the second half very well and that counted in the end.”

By Andrew Hollely, at Ellis Park Stadium