Wallabies claim Mandela Challenge Plate after overcoming South Africa

Sat, 18/09/2021, 09:12 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies go back to back against the Springboks

The Wallabies have reclaimed the Mandela Challenge Plate, defeating South Africa 30-17 at Suncorp Stadium.

Doubles to Len Ikitau and Marika Koroibete secured the bonus-point victory for Dave Rennie's men, extending their streak at Suncorp to ten.

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The win capped off a historic night for Michael Hooper, with the flanker becoming the most-capped captain in Wallabies history with an inspirational performance.

The Wallabies looked to attack early and nearly found a gap minutes in with Kerevi bursting through as he caused havoc for South Africa before Kellaway failed to haul in the pass from Folau Fainga’a.

Fortunately for Dave Renne’s men, a brain explosion from Faf de Klerk saw the Springboks reduced to 14, allowing Ikitau to shine.

The Brumbies centre would strike straight from the resulting penalty, bursting through three defenders to open the scoring.

After a Pollard penalty, the Wallabies would continue their attacking nature and Ikitau would find his second off the back of a slick backline move, set up by a Koroibete flick pass.

However, they would themselves be reduced to 14 when Swinton was pulled up for a high tackle.

Whilst referee Matthew Carley pushed for a red, the TMO ruled head-on-head collision, causing the incident to be reduced down to a yellow.

This brought South Africa back into the contest, with a pair of Pollard penalties reducing the margin to three at the break.

With Swinton still in the bin, De Klerk would make up for his mistake, placing a perfect chip kick for Am to take the lead.

The Wallabies refused to back down and eventually found a way back into the lead thanks to the boot of Quade Cooper.

From here, the confidence shone through as the Wallabies put on a show for a strong Suncorp crowd, started by Taniela Tupou.

Tupou would break through the line, producing an incredible pass that defies his size and position to put Marika Koroibete through for his first try in 2021.

Koroibete would shortly add his second five minutes later, finishing off a break from Pete Samu as the Wallabies raced away with the contest.

With the Springboks hunting for a way back into the contest, the defence would step up as captain Michael Hooper led the way in his record-breaking appearance as captain.

Hooper would inspire the Wallabies defence to hold strong, repelling everything the Springboks had to throw at them to secure the bonus-point win.

Unfortunately, it was not all good news for the Wallabies with fullback Tom Banks going off with a suspected broken arm.

WALLABIES 30

TRIES: Ikitau 2, Koroibete 2

CONS: Cooper 2

PENS: Cooper 2

SPRINGBOKS 17

TRIES: Am

PENS: Pollard 4

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