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August 10, 2009

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Steyn fires Boks past Wallabies

MORNE Steyn scored 24 points on Saturday to lead South Africa to a 29-17 win over Australia for its third straight Tri-Nations victory.

The flyhalf kicked seven penalties and a drop goal at Newlands in Cape Town as the Springboks failed to concede a bonus point for the third game despite the Wallabies outscoring them two tries to one.

South Africa leads the standings with 12 points, eight more than New Zealand. Australia has one point but has played a game less.

Springbok captain John Smit acknowledged his team is playing controlled rugby but said it can also play expansively. "We try to be clinical in what we do, but the time will come to run it and we will try and do that clinically."

The Springboks never looked in any danger of defeat as they dominated in all phases of play, but especially the lineouts where they pinched nine of Australia's throws.

The hosts also forced 19 turnovers, conceding eight, and Australia gave away 14 penalties to the Boks' nine.

Three Wallabies spent time in the sin bin. Flankers Richard Brown and George Smith for professional fouls, and flyhalf Matt Giteau for an illegal challenge on Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez.

"You can't win with just 13 players on the field, but we played a very good side tonight," Smith said.

The Wallabies conceded only three points while Brown and Giteau were off, but Steyn's kicking kept South Africa in control throughout.

Australia scored first with a good move off an early lineout. Smith took the ball at flyhalf and manufactured an overlap for Adam Ashley-Cooper to go over in the corner.

"We'd rather deal with that kind of thing early on, so we can work our way back into things," Smit said.

Steyn hit back with three penalties in five minutes, but the Wallabies regained the lead with a left-footed drop goal from Berrick Barnes.

The Bok forwards kept up the pressure at the breakdown, and Steyn converted that into points with another penalty and a drop goal before the hosts scored a try.

Smit found himself at first receiver with his team on attack. He put a little grubber kick through, and Bryan Habana gave chase. His pressure forced the error, and Victor Matfield picked up to crash over.

The second half was a more even affair, with Steyn kicking two penalties and Giteau scoring a 65th-minute try.


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