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Saturday, October 30, 1999 Published at 20:26 GMT 21:26 UK

Wallabies praised after 'rollercoaster' win

South Africa head home after a hard-fought encounter

Coach Rod Macqueen saluted his Wallaby heroes after Australia reached the World Cup final with a dramatic 27-21 win over South Africa.

It turned on a glorious 50m drop goal from fly-half Stephen Larkham in the second period of extra-time.

Macqueen revealed that Larkham had been motivated by English press criticism that had labelled him "wooden".

"Larkham is unusual and different, but he does some remarkable things," said McQueen. "He is an exceptional player. He has only had three Tests back and is getting better all the time. I'm just happy to see him back to his normal self again.

"I thought we were the better team because we carried the ball forward on more occasions and kicked pretty well too."


Macqueen also singled out centre Tim Horan for praise. Horan had risen from his sick bed to give a fabulous display of penetrative running.

[ image: Matt Burke was on form for Australia]
Matt Burke was on form for Australia
"He has been ill for two days," revealed McQueen. "And still wasn't well this morning. He said he would be right to play and he made some superb breaks, but it got to a stage where he had to come off.

"All the lads in the dressing room were very appreciative of Tim and thanked him for his efforts. In fact, South African coach Nick Mallett came into our dressing room and made special mention of Tim's game."

Mallett was equally appreciative of his own players after a game he described as a "real rollercoaster ride".

"It was a fantastic match," he said. "I am disappointed but sometimes you are disappointed because you have let yourselves down. No-one let themselves down today. All the guys tried their absolute best and have nothing to be ashamed about."

South African scrum-half Joost Van der Westhuizen said: "It was a very exciting game. I'm disappointed but we can't blame anybody. We just have to pick our heads up. We are humble in victory. Now we must be humble in defeat."

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