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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2006, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Connolly content with 'ugly' win
Stirling Mortlock celebrates his winning conversion
Stirling Mortlock celebrates landing his winning conversion
Australia coach John Connolly took solace from an "ugly" 20-18 victory over South Africa that maintains his side's hopes of catching New Zealand.

"I guess that gives new meaning to the term winning ugly," Connolly said. "We're incredibly disappointed by the way we played but delighted we won.

"We've played seven games in nine weeks and I guess we were a little flat."

"It's good to see we held our nerve and showed good composure at the end," added captain George Gregan.

None more so than Stirling Mortlock, who stepped up to convert from wide out on the touchline with the scores level after Mat Rogers' late try in the left corner.

"From a goalkicker's perspective, those are the moments you dream about," said Mortlock, who also kicked a last-minute penalty against the Springboks in Durban six years ago to give Australia their first Tri-Nations title.

We did everything we could, it's just heartbreaking

Springboks captain John Smit
"I thought it was going over when I kicked it but when it started to tail off I started getting worried and I can tell you I was relieved when the flags went up."

South Africa, having lost all three away games, will be relieved to return home for their final three games of this year's expanded competition, starting with two clashes with the All Blacks, the first in Pretoria on 26 August.

"We did everything we could to win, it's just heartbreaking," said Springboks captain John Smit.

"It's especially hard after we worked so hard for 80 minutes.

It just showed that Australia are a team that never say die

Boks coach Jake White
"We knew from the start we could win this game, and we did enough to win it, but we just didn't come through when it really mattered.

"But we will take a lot out of this game and we are looking forward to playing on our own paddock now."

South Africa coach Jake White was equally despondent at the result.

"We showed a lot of character after the 49-0 drubbing three weeks ago but that doesn't make losing any easier to accept," he said.

"It was just one of those games that got away from us but full credit to Australia. It just showed, yet again, that they are a team that never say die."

The Wallabies meet New Zealand again in Auckland in a fortnight, before concluding the tournament in Johannesburg on 9 September.

Tri-Nations Series Table
Saturday, 11 September 2010 13:05 UK
  Team P PD PTS
1 New Zealand 6 73 27
2 Australia 6 -26 11
3 South Africa 6 -47 7

Australia 20-18 South Africa
05 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Clockwatch: Australia 20-18 SA
05 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Australia 9-13 New Zealand
29 Jul 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand 35-17 South Africa
22 Jul 06 |  Internationals
Australia 49-0 South Africa
15 Jul 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand 32-12 Australia
08 Jul 06 |  Internationals

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