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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 July 2005, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
South Africa 22-16 Australia
Breyton Paulse (right) gets to grips with Morgan Turinui
South Africa 22 (6)
Try: Paulse
Con: Montgomery
Pens: Montgomery (3)
DGs: Montgomery, Pretorius
Australia 16 (13)
Try: Smith
Con: Giteau
Pens: Giteau (3)
South Africa got the defence of their Tri-Nations crown off to a perfect start with a tense win over Australia.

Australia were the dominant force in the first half in Pretoria on Saturday, moving 13-6 ahead through Matt Giteau's kicking and a try from George Smith.

A blistering second-half try by Breyton Paulse wiped out Australia's advantage.

But Giteau then nudged the Wallabies ahead again before Percy Montgomery proved the match winner and also reached 500 Test points.

The Springbok full-back, who sealed two kicks in the first half, added two more in the latter stages for victory.

And Andre Pretorius compounded Australia's misery with a drop goal from the final move of the game.

Stephen Larkham and Giteau cleverly directed proceedings in the first half and the Wallabies' ascendancy was rewarded when Smith bundled his way over the line for his side's only try after being sent through by George Gregan.

Giteau's kicking gave the visitors a comfortable lead to take into the interval before facing resurgent opponents in the second half.

This was a match we should have closed out
George Gregan
South Africa drove forward courtesy of some relentless work from their back row and it was that platform which sent Paulse through for his try.

The Springbok speedster seared over the line after Bryan Habana and then Montgomery darted through Australia's defence.

Montgomery added the conversion to level the scores at 13-13 before Giteau put the Wallabies ahead once again with a penalty moments later.

But that was Australia's sole score of the half as Montgomery added two more spot kicks before Pretorius' drop goal rounded off the win.

Australia captain George Gregan was disappointed that his side lost their half-time advantage.

"We knew South Africa would fight back in the second half, but this was a match we should have closed out," he said. "It's a cliche, but this really was a tale of two halves."

Springbok captain John Smit said: "We knew it'd be tough and we managed to play much better in the second half."

South Africa: Percy Montgomery; Breyton Paulse, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Andre Pretorius, Fourie du Preez; Gurthro Steenkamp, John Smit (capt), CJ van der Linde; Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield; Joe van Niekerk, Juan Smith, Jacques Cronje.
Replacements: Gary Botha, Lawrence Sephaka, Albert van den Berg, Schalk Burger, Ricky Januarie, Wayne Julies, Jaco van der Westhuyzen.

Australia: Chris Latham; Wendell Sailor, Morgan Turinui, Matt Giteau, Lote Tuqiri; Stephen Larkham, George Gregan (capt); Bill Young, Jeremy Paul, Matt Dunning; Daniel Vickerman, Nathan Sharpe; John Roe, George Smith, David Lyons.
Replacements: Stephen Moore, Al Baxter, Mark Chisholm, Phil Waugh, Chris Whitaker, Stirling Mortlock, Drew Mitchell.

Rokocoko recalled for Tri-Nations
10 Jul 05 |  Internationals


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