Fourie: ‘Thanks to the pack’

Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez paid tribute to his forwards after he was named man-of-the-match as the Springboks ended the Vodacom Tri-Nations with a great win.

After the teams were locked at 3-3 at the break, the match opened up nicely in the second 40 minutes, with du Preez particularly prominent.

As the Bok pack dominated, du Preez revelled in the space provided and got his backs away brilliantly. He also scored a crucial 56th minute try that gave the Boks some much-needed breathing space.

“I think after half-time the altitude got to them and we came out firing,” he said. “Jake told us we needed to take our chances and try a few things, but I would not have been able to do that if I had not had the forwards giving me good, clean ball.”

“They definitely laid the platform and scrummed and drove well, so all credit to them.”

The Springboks beat the Wallabies 24-16 in a hard-fought encounter that brought the curtain down on the first extended Tri-Nations. “It was a nice way to end, but actually it’s been a Tri-Nations to forget, but I’m pleased how the guys showed character in the last two games.”

If nothing else, this competition has seen the emergence of several exciting youngsters, particularly Pierre Spies – who was outstanding again – and JP Pietersen in his debut today.

“It’s been great to have the youngsters come through and with 12 months to the World Cup they showed up well on the field. It’s important to get some rest and we now have a break until November.”

The result continued Australia’s woeful record at Ellis Park, taking their defeats to eight in nine Tests. The last time Australia won at Ellis Park was way back in 1963.

The Australians though did have something to celebrate having won the Mandela Plate after wins in Brisbane and Sydney, effectively winning 2-1. “We knew it was going to be tough,” said Wallaby skipper George Gregan. “After the first half, we needed to control possession and take our chances better. Unfortunately they did that and we didn’t.”

“It is disappointing to come over and lose again as I thought we created enough opportunities to win it. We obviously still have plenty of work ahead.”

By Andrew Hollely, at Ellis Park Stadium