Brisbane buckle says little about South Africa World Cup hopes

Australia will be looking forward to their remaining Rugby Championship clashes against Argentina and New Zealand with relish after coming from 20-7 down to beat South Africa 24-20 in Brisbane, leaving followers to count their winnings in the process.

The Wallabies won’t get a better chance of taking this tournament for the first time since the Tri Nations was rebranded to accommodate Los Pumas in 2012, with the teams set to play each other just once each in a cut-down version of the southern-hemisphere showpiece, ahead of September’s World Cup.

It’s impossible to read too much into this result though, as evidenced by Ladbrokes’ 5/1 third-favourites quote about Heyneke Meyer’s men lifting the Webb Ellis trophy at Twickenham , while Michael Cheika’s charges are almost twice the price at 9/1.

South Africa handed a debut to outside-centre Jesse Kriel, who thoroughly justified his selection with a try-scoring performance, and pitched fellow 21-year-old Handre Pollard in from the off, but despite the pair’s youthful exuberance leaving the Aussies at sixes and sevens, losing veteran bruisers Victor Matfield and Jannie du Plessis to injury proved costly.

That being said, Australia were in trouble at the breakdown even after that 185-cap pair left the field, with Jannie’s hooker brother Bismarck smashing through Cheika’s lot as if they weren’t there.

The hosts battled back to make it 20-17 with a minute remaining on the clock, but the former Leinster coach’s experimental backline, which contained maverick fly-half Quade Cooper and scrum-half Will Genia, plus returning veteran Matt Giteau at centre, needs plenty of work.

Australia will be rightly buoyed by Tevita Kuridrani’s last gasp winner, which came about after flanker Michael Hooper managed to grapple Springbok behemoth Schalk Burger over his own try line, but while a first South African southern hemisphere championship since 2009 now looks impossible, Meyer and co won’t be unduly worried.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.