By Nick Said

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Wing Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a hattrick of tries as a South Africa side missing several regulars made it an unhappy return for Australia coach Eddie Jones as the Springboks eased to a 43-12 Rugby Championship win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Boks were also awarded two penalty tries and got another from flanker Pieter-Steoh du Toit in the bonus-point victory as they dominated the aerial battle and had too much muscle and speed for the visitors, who have now lost all seven of their visits to Pretoria.

There will be few positives for Jones in his first match back in charge of the Wallabies since 2005, though they scored an early try through wing Marika Koroibete and a late one via debutant Carter Gordon, and enjoyed line-out success on both teams’ throws.

South Africa sent a number of players to New Zealand this week ahead of their second fixture in Auckland next Saturday, handing a debut to lock Jean Kleyn. They were far from perfect, but still did more than enough for the comfortable win.

“I’m really proud of the boys, it was a fantastic performance,” Bok captain Duane Vermeulen said at the post-match presentation. “We played to our strengths. We can still improve, it was not 100 percent our best performance, but I’m very happy with the result.”


The visitors received two yellow cards in the second half, for hooker Dave Porecki and wing Suliasi Vunivalu, a symptom of the pressure they were put under by their hosts.

It led to numerous unforced handling errors from the Wallabies, who gave a debut to flanker Tom Hooper, while prop Zane Nonggorr, lock Richie Arnold and flyhalf Gordon came off the bench to earn their first test caps.

“There was an opportunity to put in a performance we are proud of, but we just defended the whole of the second half, they put us under so much pressure. We will learn from that,” Australia co-captain James Slipper said.

“It is a tough start, but we have a long year ahead of us. There is plenty more to come. We didn’t deal with the pressure, and the lack of discipline put us on the back foot.”

Arendse’s clinical finishing was a key factor as he took his tally of international tries to 10 in seven tests.

After Koroibete’s early score Arendse crossed unopposed for his first try as the visitors ran out of defenders from a backline break.

Australia’s defence around the fringes left a lot to be desired and the hosts exploited it to score their second try.

Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach sniped around the blindside from a lineout and some lightning quick hands released Arendse as the Boks led 17-5 at halftime.

Arendse completed his hattrick 11 minutes into the second half as the Boks camped in Wallabies territory, dancing down the left wing and evading two tackles before dotting down.

South Africa remained on top for the remainder of the game, with Australia barely managing to enter their half before Gordon ran clear late on.

(Reporting by Nick Said)

Brought to you by