Australia 25-17 South Africa: Wallabies back on track as McReight stars against Springboks

By Sports Desk August 27, 2022

Australia got back on track in the Rugby Championship by recording a deserved 25-17 win against South Africa in Adelaide, responding to their humiliating defeat to Argentina in emphatic fashion. 

Dave Rennie's men appeared keen to atone for their 48-17 hammering against the Pumas from the outset on Saturday, with Fraser McReight going over to put them in charge almost straight from the kick-off.

A further McReight try, as well as a fine effort from Marika Koroibete, handed the Wallabies an unassailable lead after the break, though South Africa restored some pride with two late scores from Kwagga Smith.

But the final score ultimately failed to reflect Australia's superiority as they inflicted back-to-back defeats on the out-of-shape visitors.

The Wallabies made a flying start and hit the front less than two minutes in; McReight going over following good work from Saia Fainga'a and Nic White after the hosts won possession in South Africa's 22.

Having opened his account with the subsequent conversion, Noah Lolesio successfully kicked a penalty just five minutes later as the hosts established a 10-point lead.

Handre Pollard reduced the arrears 24 minutes in with a penalty of his own as South Africa finally responded, but that was the sum of their first-half efforts as the Springboks spurned several opportunities to cut the hosts' advantage. 

The visitors were made to pay for their wastefulness eight minutes after the break, as Koroibete darted between two challenges to convert after the ball was worked out to the left by White.

Australia then added some gloss to the scoreline as James Slipper found Lolesio in space from a fine set-piece move, allowing the number 10 to hand over to McReight to ease to his second try of the match.

The visitors were at least able to salvage some pride – and deny their opponents a bonus point – when Smith took advantage of a defensive mix-up to cross unopposed with five minutes remaining, before doubling up on the final whistle. 

But even that late flurry could not prevent South Africa making it eight Tests without a win on the road against Australia (D1 L7), as Rennie's side moved on to nine points at the top of the Championship standings.

McReight at the double for rampant Wallabies

With the home crowd expecting a response following Australia's dismal loss in Argentina last time out, McReight settled the nerves by going over after just 62 seconds.

He then capped a brilliant move in the 57th minute to hand the Wallabies what proved to be an unassailable lead.

World champions' woes continue

There was to be no resounding reaction from the Springboks, however, who were well beaten by New Zealand last time out and looked well off the pace for much of this contest.

They are still without a win over the Wallabies in Australia since September 2013, when they enjoyed a comprehensive victory in Brisbane.  

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