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REACTION: Marika’s Moodie blues – Wallaby star smashed in revenge hit as Boks deliver a ‘mugging’

Bad blood between Marika Koroibete and his Springbok rival Makazole Mapimpi lead to a shocking conclusion as South Africa won a bitterly fought battle 24-8 against Australia to launch the new Sydney Football Stadium.

A week ago Australian rugby fans were starting to believe that they were heading for Bledisloe Cup glory for the first time in 20 years. A week ago Marika Koroibete sent Mapimpi into orbit and was lauded as the greatest winger in the world by anyone who was asked.

After the All Blacks crushing win over Argentina and Koriobete’s nightmare night – where Hunter Paisami and Noah Lolesio were forced off and Taniela Tupou couldn’t even get through a warm up – you have to ask now what?

“A week is a long time in rugby union and a week is very long for the Wallabies,” said Justin Harrison on Stan Sport.

“The Springboks did their home work, got some energy and changes in that team. They were ahead of the Wallabies in just every aspect of the match tonight. A well deserved win and dominant performance.”

As the dust settles, the All Blacks, who are Australia’s next opponent, top the Rugby Championship table on 10 points with three other teams locked on nine. All teams have two wins and two losses

South Africa were already on their way to their first win on Australian soil in 13 years, after Koroibete had earlier been out gunned by a debutant, when Mapimpi ploughed through the Australian for a third try.

Mapimpi stood over Koroibete, taunting him, and players from both sides waded in, the ugliest clash being a one on one fight between Allan Alaalatoa and Eben Etzebeth.

Before that fracas, the moment of the match was the arrival of new South African star – 19 year old winger Canan Moodie – at the expense of last week’s man of the match Marika Koroibete.

Koroibete’s incredible try saving tackle in Adelaide, and the constant harping on it by Wallabies fans, has produced enough salty South African tears to refill the Indian Ocean. Expect them to pay it back in floods after Moodie outjumped the Australian winger to score his debut Test try at the end of the first half and Mapimpi destroyed him a revenge hit.

In Adelaide it was the Wallabies who got off to a flyer with a try in 62 seconds but the tables were turned in Sydney as Bok intensity and the whistle of Ben O’Keeffe had the hosts on the back foot from the off.

Their ruck and maul work was ferocious and they made the most of plentiful penalty advantage by running the Wallabies ragged. On nine minutes a quick tap from a penalty just five metres out from the Wallaby try line saw Eben Etzebeth pop up a pass for Damian de Allende to power over. The inside centre was delirious, smashing the ball down in celebration, while O’Keeffe pulled out a yellow card for Matt Philip for being offside in the buildup.

It was no more than the Boks deserved.

“That is what you call a mugging,” said Andrew Mehrtens on Stan Sport. “That has been brutal. Some beautiful, skilful pieces within it. The likes of Damian Willemse, but that is just raw aggression, raw power.”

Morgan Turinui added: “The catchphrase in modern sport is that fast start. Last week it was the Wallabies. Thus far in the first nine minutes it’s been all the Springboks. Territory. We talk about the physical nature of the way they want to play. That’s the snapshot of it. That’s the recipe for them.”

No sooner had Philip returned to the field they might have lost fellow forward Jed Holloway.

Reaching out with one hand to gather in a Bok pass, he knocked it on. O’Keeffe gave him a reprieve for an incident quite similar to a yellow card handed out to Izzy Perese against England in Brisbane for a deliberate knock down.

“I like the decision but it goes against all of the criteria for a deliberate knock-down,” Turinui said. “We’ve been
told if you go with one hand, you put yourself at the mercy of penalties and cards. I love that decision.”

Australia were forced into a backline change when Paisami clashed heads in an attempt to tackle Siya Kolisi and Andrew Kellaway stepped into outside centre with Len Ikitau moving next to Lolesio.

On 29 minutes the Wallabies entered the Boks’ 22 for the first time and emerged with a penalty goal.

But 90 seconds out from the break Moodie came up with a play the Springboks came up with a moment of magic that is likely to be replayed time and again for years to come.

Moodie was thrust into his first Test after just 18 senior games with the Blue Bulls, and what an impact he made opposite Koroibete, judged by many as the world’s best winger.

Koroibete seemed to momentarily lose track of the flight of a high kick from Jaden Hendrikse and Moodie out leapt the Australian and raced away for a try that was wildly celebrated by the South African bench players.

“I’ve heard noise this week about how good this player is going to be,” Turinui said. “Jake White said he will play 100
Tests. Marika Koroibete gets caught flat-footed because the kick’s great and he gets in the air and win this contest. This kid is made for Test rugby.”

Drew Mitchell was also raving about Moodie’s first Test try.

“The first try was all power, this one was all finesse. A really well weighted kick put right down on top of Marika Koroibete,” Mitchell said.

“It’s always a really difficult position to be in when you have no momentum, you’re sitting there and you’re waiting for the ball to come down and Moodie has come with all the momentum, gets up higher gets a beautiful take and gets a try on debut for the young fella.”

The Aussies were perhaps fortunate to be only down 12-3 at the break.

“It’s our discipline, we can’t give the Boks a world class team, the best in the world, that many penalties and that much possession.”

Dave Rennie’s message would be been clear and abrupt, but his mood will have been well and truly soured by news in the break that Tupou wasn’t fit enough to take his place off the bench.

Rennie cracked the grumps about negative questioning on Thursday after questions about Tupou’s form – more Dave grumpiness incoming stat.

And any hope of a better start to the second half was ruined less than three minutes after the resumption.

Some swift hands off a ruck on the right flank, after desperate play to keep the ball in by Kolisi and a break by Steve Kitshoff caused chaos in the Australian defensive line and flanker Franco Mostert finished well.

“You won’t see much better than that from the boys in the Springboks jersey,” said Sonny Bill Williams. “They started the second half just like they finished the first. Winning the battle physically and then that confidence that they playing with. It was magical to see.”

Lolesio was forced off less than 10 minutes into the half, with Jake Gordon, the only back on the bench left after Kellaway coming onto the wing.

This Test was the first time as Wallabies coach that Rennie had the luxury of sending out an unchanged team. Now he has some big issues to confront ahead of the New Zealand clash.

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