Rugby: Australia's defeat puts heat on Deans

By Gerald Imray

Francois Hougaard keeps the ball moving. Photo / Getty Images
Francois Hougaard keeps the ball moving. Photo / Getty Images

South Africa ended its four-game losing streak in the Tri-Nations with a 44-31 win over Australia in a pulsating nine-try encounter yesterday.

Former Wallaby coach Alan Jones yesterday called for Robbie Deans to be removed from running the Australian side. Ex-Wallaby Rod Kafer said questions must be asked over why Deans did not use four of his reserves, when it was obvious his players were struggling with the pace of the game.

Victor Matfield celebrated victory in his 100th test at his home ground of Loftus Versfeld when winger JP Pietersen ran in the Springboks' fifth try with two minutes remaining to seal victory.

Australia, which has never won at Loftus Versfeld and hasn't won at a highveld venue since 1963, led 14-0 and 21-7 early in the first half before the hosts fought back to go ahead for the first time in the 50th minute.

Springbok forwards Juan Smith, Gurthro Steenkamp and Pierre Spies and recalled fullback Francois Steyn also scored tries for South Africa. Australia had two tries from James O'Connor and one each from Will Genia and Dean Mumm.

Pietersen gave South Africa its first win of its Tri-Nations campaign when Matfield and centre Jean de Villiers moved the ball quickly to the right winger, who sprinted home.

"A lot can happen in a week," said South Africa captain John Smit, whose 100th test ended in a dramatic defeat to New Zealand last weekend. "I am really happy with the boys. We needed a win today ... or a bit of Prozac.

"A start like that is something we want to scratch out pretty quickly, but the boys stuck to their task."

- AP

- NZ Herald

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