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International Rugby: The takeaways from Wallabies v South Africa

The Wallabies bounced back to winning ways in impressive style as they beat world champions South Africa 25-17 at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Australia came in for some fierce criticism following a 48-17 defeat against Argentina in their last Rugby Championship clash, but responded well in Adelaide.

In fairness that defeat against Argentina does not look quite as bad after the Pumas also beat New Zealand 25-18 in Christchurch on Saturday.

But it was the performance of the Wallabies that will make the headlines down under as they continue to dominate against South African on home soil.

The Wallabies have now won eight straight Tests against South Africa in Australia and it is now important they kick on and make it nine.

Winning back-to-back Tests has been an issue for the Wallabies, but before looking ahead to next week let’s look at the takeaways from Saturday’s win.

Koroibete was the star of the match

The 30-year-old showed there is plenty of life in the old dog still as he put in an inspirational performance to take the man-of-the-match award.

One of the defining moments in the whole game came late in the first half when Koroibete prevented South Africa from scoring what looked to be a certain try.

With fellow winger Tom Wright in the sin bin, Springbok star Makazole Mapimpi looked set to take advantage as he made his way to the try line.

However Koroibete had other ideas and made his way across the pitch to smash into the left-winger and force the error that saved the day.

Then in the second half he scored a try of his own to cap a fine display that left coach Dave Rennie and Wallabies team-mates singing his praises.

“Some of the stuff he does on the footy field is just phenomenal,” Rennie said after the game. “One thing I know about Marika is that he’s going to put his body on the line, not only for his teammates but for his country and the jersey.
“He’s a player we all enjoy having in our squad, for sure, he picks us up.”

Discipline still and issue for Wallabies

Despite a much-improved performance and a great win, the Wallabies still had some discipline issues. They have proved to be costly in the past but on this occasion they got away with it.

The Wallabies lead the penalty count 14-9 and also picked up two yellow cards. Tom Wright was sent to the sin bin on 30 minutes when picking up a yellow for repeat team infringements.

Wright has Koroibete to thank for saving his bacon while he was off the pitch. It is something the Wallabies still need to work on if they are to make progress.

The Wallabies show their character once again

Australia once again showed the great character they have within their ranks. They came in for some heavy criticism following the record-breaking loss to Argentina and could have rolled over.

They were missing key players once again with the likes of Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper out of the side but bounced back well. Another defeat would have been a big setback but they got the job done.

Rennie said that they went through a brutal review after the Argentina loss and he got the response he was expecting. And captain James Slipper says that speaks volumes.

“This group, I’ve said it a lot of times, it’s got a lot of character. It’s just about consistently performing and that’s probably our biggest challenge now is to back that effort up next week in Sydney,” Slipper said after the game.

“We’re very proud of the effort we showed today. It was a tough tour in Argentina. Pretty disappointing the way we finished over there. But to come here in front of an Adelaide crowd, Adelaide stadium, very proud of the effort we put in.” 

Rennie wants Wallabies to kick on

Rennie says it is now important that the Wallabies kick on and pick up back-to-back wins against South Africa when the two sides meet at Allianz Stadium in Sydney next week.

The Wallabies kicked off the three-match series against England with a win only to lose the next two games.

They also beat Argentina before losing the next, and Rennie says if they want to get the supporters believing it is important they start stringing wins together.

"We're rapt with the result but we're well aware of the challenge of next week and backing that up, which we haven't done this year,” the coach said. "The Africans are a hell of a side and they're going to be tougher next week so we will have to take our game to another level.

"If we genuinely want people to get behind us we have to front every week."

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