5:30 AM

Coach Rod Macqueen was unhappy with the manner of Australia's 19-18 win over South Africa overnight but was delighted his team had ridden their luck once again to win their first Tri-Nations title.

"This is probably not the way we would have liked to have won, but I don't care how we win," Macqueen said after right wing Stirling Mortlock won the game for the world champions with the last kick of the game, a penalty from the left touchline.

"It was a very tough game, probably an ugly game to watch, but we're just happy with the result."


It was the first time the Wallabies had beaten the Springboks in South Africa since 1992 and followed a 24-23 victory over New Zealand in Wellington on August 5, won by a John Eales penalty with the last kick of the match.

"Good teams make their own luck," Macqueen said. "We thought we should probably have nailed the game in the first half if we played our normal type of game.

"But having said that, South Africa's defence was exceptional. They had obviously done their homework on us and we found it very difficult to penetrate.

Australian fullback Chris Latham scored the only try, in the 39th minute, with Mortlock claiming the remaining 14 points via four penalties and the conversion.

Flyhalf Braam van Straaten kicked six penalties for South Africa.

For Springbok coach Nick Mallett, it was a case of what might have been.

"We fought back so well to get back into the game, and it was very cruel the way we lost it in the end," Mallett said. "But we've got to give credit to Australia. They got into our half at the crucial moments."

Mallett said the match entirely different from South Africa's 46-40 win over the All Blacks last Saturday.

"There were far more penalties, so it wasn't ever going to be one of those wide open, running games," Mallett said. "We just wanted to play in their half. With Braam kicking so well, the key was for us to finish the game in their half.

Mallett said South Africa could easily have emerged as the winners, which would have seen New Zealand claim the title.

"There wasn't much in this Test match, and it's desperately disappointing to lose it because we've put in a hell of a lot of hard work," Mallett said.

"Especially in the second half, we varied it a lot. We played wide, we played through (centre) Robbie Fleck, we played close, we tried a kicking game.

"It was one of those Tests that turn on one opportunity. The ref found that he couldn't see that Rassie (Erasmus) had grounded the ball (in the 39th minute), it wasn't evident on the television replay."

The South African coach also called into question New Zealand referee Paul Honiss'S decision to award Australia their match-winning penalty.

"Fullmarks for Mortlock for kicking that over, but I'd like to see that penalty again," Mallett said.

"I felt Corne (Krige) tackled the guy and the ball was up. Corne took it off him and went away with it, and because it was two of three seconds after the ruck had formed the ref deemed he had had hands in the ruck."