WILL GENIA - KING MAKERSeptember 6 2009 at 5:53 PM
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Australia defeats South Africa in Tri-Nations in Brisbane
Article from: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
September 06, 2009 12:00am
AUSTRALIA'S young bravehearts chopped down South Africa's world champions last night at Suncorp Stadium with a massive 21-6 upset that revived rugby with attacking panache and character.
The youngest of the Wallabies, 19-year-old James O'Connor, iced a Tri Nations win to end a four-Test losing streak by bolting over in the closing minutes. The crowd erupted and the stodgy fare so often fed the fans this year was punted into touch. This was a massive watershed moment from a side with an average age of just 23. They transformed from nearly-men to giantkillers.
Halfback Will Genia had an excellent game in his first starting Test. Flanker Rocky Elsom was a mighty force up front and a steamrolling run in the second half got the Wallabies' momentum going. The sea of gold in the crowd erupted with a roar when the Wallabies showed their intent to run from the outset.
Flyhalf Matt Giteau threw a long, audacious pass across the posts metres out from his line. Centre Adam Ashley-Cooper speared 40m upfield and the flurry which followed gave Giteau the chance to slot a penalty goal for 3-0. The Wallabies looked metres faster and had far more space to operate. Much of it came from new spark Genia doing what dumped halfback Will Burgess too rarely executed slick passes hitting his playmakers and forward runners.
The 9-6 first half did not produce a try put there were still pulsating raids from both sides and a zest to the play that the fans latched on to. There were four clear try chances, two apiece, in the first 40. Wallaby winger Lachie Turner was barrelled in the corner after Genia had created room with a blindside dart while a trademark Giteau glide saw him into open space just 10m from the tryline. Winger Bryan Habana cut down both Wallabies with superb try-saving tackles. Wallabies coach Robbie Deans had promised the midfield defensive bloopers of Perth a week earlier would be fixed. They weren't, thanks to the supreme skills of Bok inside centre Jean de Villiers. He sliced between Giteau and Berrick Barnes and a try to centre partner Jaque Fourie was only stopped by the scrambling defence of Drew Mitchell, O'Connor and Ashley-Cooper. On halftime, O'Connor made another strong grab on replacement Adi Jacobs. The Boks ground their teeth when flanker Heinrich Brussow was called back when his dive for the line came off a forward pass. The energy in the youthful Wallabies line-up was positive across the field. Fearless hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was forced off after 32 minutes with rib damage but not before he had caused damage of his own, smashing Fourie du Preez and Brussow with low tackles. Wallabies prop Benn Robinson clearly had Springboks hooker-turned-prop John Smit in trouble at scrum time.
Smit was forced to pop out of the scrum when Robinson drilled under him. Just as scrum doctor Alex Evans had predicted, Smit's novice technique was exposed.