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Jim Maxwell reports for BBC World Service
"Australia's win kept their Tri-Nations hopes alive"
 real 28k

Saturday, 29 July, 2000, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Mortlock makes Springboks suffer
Stephen Larkham
Stephen Larkham takes on the Springbok defence
Australia 26-6 South Africa

Australia put their Tri-Nations campaign back on track with a comfortable victory in Sydney that all but ended South Africa's own title hopes.

Stirling Mortlock was the star of the show for the Wallabies, scoring 21 points in an impressive display of kicking and all-round wing play.

The win, secured by a second-half try from Jason Little - in his farewell home Test - keeps Australia within reach of Tri-Nations leaders New Zealand, who they meet next week in a mouthwatering clash in Wellington.

  Australia scores
Tries: Mortlock, Little
Conversions: Mortlock (2)
Penalties: Mortlock (4)
But the result is another huge blow to the Springboks, who have now lost their last four matches and looked well off the pace against the world champions.

  South Africa scores
Penalties: van Straaten (2)
In stark contrast to the previous international at Stadium Australia - the All Blacks' amazing injury-time win in the Bledisloe Cup - the third Tri-Nations match got off to a muted opening, as Mortlock and Springbok fly-half Bram van Straaten landed two penalties apiece.

Stirling Mortlock
Stirling Mortlock: A try and 16 points from the boot
South Africa offered little in the way of attacking threat - but scrum-half Werner Swanepoel did have a glorious chance to score the opening try after 16 minutes, as he pounced on a mistake and raced through the Wallaby defence. But with the try-line beckoning the ball somehow squirmed from his grasp.

Australia gradually began to stamp their authority on the game - and they made their pressure pay in the 26th minute with a try from a sweeping move from their highly-rated back division.

Chris Latham
Australia had too much pace and power for the Boks
An Aussie forward charge was held up over the line - but the ball was swiftly recycled and the combination of stacatto passes and decoy runs proved too much for the stretched Springbok defence.

The ball reached Joe Roff, who had cut in from the left wing, and he unleashed a huge pass for opposite number Mortlock to finish in the right-hand corner.

It was the sixth try of Mortlock's short Test career and the conversion and another penalty gave him all of his side's first-half points as Australia went in at the break with a 19-6 lead.

Revival flounders

South Africa at last began to make some constructive use of possession at the start of the second half as they inched their way to the opposition line.

Andre Venter
Lacklustre South Africa never sparked into life
But the Wallaby defence lived up to its stonewall reputation - and the ball was turned over by an awesome three-pronged hit on a pedestrian Pieter Rossouw.

That defensive play proved the turning point as a second try soon put the home side out of sight.

Replacement forward Toutai Kefu embarked on a loping run into Springbok territory. He cleverly found Jason Little and the veteran centre, who is due to quit the international arena, sprinted round the hapless Rossouw and dived for the line.

Little appeared to have grounded the ball before the line - but English referee Ed Morrison dismissed South African complaints and awarded the try.

Tri-Nations teams:

Australia: Latham, Mortlock, Herbert, Little, Roff, Larkham, Gregan; Harry, Foley, Dyson, Giffin, Eales, Connors, Wilson, Williams.

Replacements: Tune, Kafer, Cordingley, Kefu, Cockbain, Panoho, Paul.

South Africa: Delport, Paulse, Fleck, Barry, P Rossouw, van Straaten, Swanepoel; Kempson, Marais, Visagie, van den Bergh, Andrews, Krige, Venter, Vos.

Replacements: Smit, Le Roux, Labuschagne, Brosnihan, van der Westhuizen, Montgomery, Williams.

Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

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See also:

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