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South Africa and Australia react to World Cup quarter final

posted 9 Oct 2011, 03:39 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 9 Oct 2011, 03:40 ]

Australia and South Africa react to the Wallabies' 11-9 victory in the Rugby World Cup quarter final as Springboks' coach Peter de Villiers announces he is stepping down.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (OCTOBER 9, 2011) (RUGBY WORLD CUP LIMITED (RWCL)/IMG) - Australia knocked defending champions South Africa out of the rugby World Cup when they edged the Springboks 11-9 in a bruising but undistinguished quarter-final at the Wellington Rugby Stadium on Sunday (October 9).

South Africa, fielding their most experienced side in history, dominated possession and territory but could not land the killer blow against the twice champions in a match riddled with basic kicking and handling errors.

And for their coach, Peter de Villiers, the defeat seems to have signalled the end of his time in charge of the Springboks.

He said: "It was a brilliant journey. Something none of you guys (the media) can take away from me. To work with people like this, people who are passionate about their country, people who always put their body on the line and try to bring hope to the poor people back at home who do not have the privlege that most of you guys have.

He said: "Quarter finals, semi finals, finals; you take your chances. It didn't go our way tonight, we didn't take all our chances. Well done to them (Australia) the few that came their way they took it and they beat us fairly on the scoreboard.

"It was really incredible for me to work with them but there's a time to come and a time to go and the journey I think for me is also over."

Australia captain James Horwill scored the only try of the match in the 12th minute to help the Wallabies to an 8-3 lead at halftime.

South Africa flyhalf Morne Steyn replied with a penalty and drop goal in the second half to put the twice champions ahead before James O'Connor kicked the winning penalty after a lineout infringement with eight minutes remaining.

The decision looked a soft one but South Africa captain John Smit had no real complaints.

He said: "I was obviously on the other side and I think it (the winning penalty) was called by the linesman so it's very difficult to judge it without having seen it again.

"But good or bad you've got to take your hat off to the youngster (James) O'Connor who stepped up and banged it through the middle and that's what games like this and playoff rugby is all about. Today was always going to be tight, it was always going to be about special moments.

"We weren't playing an average team, we were playing one of the best teams in the world, they've won the Tri-Nations so we knew we were going to have to have all those special moments go in our favour and they didn't today."

The Springboks' physical strength was graphically revealed in two early scrums when they forced the Wallabies to retreat.

They also stole an Australian lineout but in neither case were they able to translate power into points.

Instead it was Australia who opened the scoring when South Africa won a lineout near their line and loose forward Schalk Burger lost the ball in midfield.

Wallaby number eight Radike Samo snapped up the ball and fed centre Pat McCabe, who passed to Horwill and the big lock strode through a gap to score. O'Connor, possibly distracted by an early charge from JP Pietersen, missed a regulation conversion.

Fullback Kurtley Beale set up Australia's next points with an electrifying break through the centre. Australia won a penalty and O'Connor made no mistake this time with a simple kick to the right of the posts.

South Africa went on the attack after the break and fullback Pat Lambie crossed the line for an apparent try but New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence called the teams back for a forward pass by centre Jean de Villiers.

Steyn narrowed the margin with a comfortable penalty then snapped a drop goal over five minutes later to give his side the lead for the first time.

Australia were pinned in their own half and the errors multiplied with both sides persistently relinquishing possession.

However, the Wallabies broke out and won a lineout penalty when lock Danie Rossouw took Sano's feet from under him and O'Connor slotted the kick.

Australia won two scrums, the final one in the last minute, and scrumhalf Will Genia kicked the ball jubilantly into touch.

It was a great effort which Horwill was proud of. He said: "Not everything went our way tonight and we out ourselves under a lot of pressure but one thing that you can't teach and you can't train is effort and commitment from the group and every member of our team showed a hell a lot of both of those.

"I'm very proud of the way the guys went about it because in games like that you have to find a way to win and that's what we did.

"We feel we got the result we deserve on the back of a massive effort from the whole group. So moving forward that's what it's going to take. A minimum of what we did tonight and probably much more next week because it's going to be a step up again."

Australia's coach Robbie Deans said he is looking forward to the semi finals: "It's always special just to be involved at this level, working with men who take a who huge pride in what they do but particularly a World Cup semi final. Nothing better, there will be a lot of emotion."

For Smit, it brings an end to seven years as South Africa captain. He said: "It's sad and I was saying to the coach on the way here you're never prepared for when it ends because you wanted it to be a fairy tale, you want it to be in a final, having won it.

"It hasn't worked out like that but it would be silly of me to try and take that seven years (he's been captain of the Springboks) and actually judge it on what happened today and I've been blessed to be able to be in charge of these guys and run out with them and blessed to be able to be captain of the Springboks and play for them. I'm devastated today, it's the end of a chapter and I'm proud of the guys who I've played with and I'm really proud to have been a Springbok."