Rugby World Cup 2019: Under-strength Springboks crush Wallabies in Rugby Championship opener

A brace by halfback Herschel Jantjies helped the Springboks to a commanding 35-17 win over the Wallabies in their Rugby Championship opener on Sunday (NZ time).

Australia were looking for their first win at Ellis Park in Johannesburg since 1963, and Michael Cheika's men were confident heading into the match, but despite some strong individual performances, again they fell short.

Jantjies, who was making his test debut, scored a try in each half as the Boks outscored Australia five tries to two. 

The Wallabies were in the hunt early, but two blown tries in the first half proved crucial. 

They trailed 14-10 at halftime after a try by backrower Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was denied after the last pass from Samu Kerevi was ruled forward.

Winger Dane Hayley-Petty, who scored their opening try, could have added a second and given his team the lead but fumbled the ball over the line as he dived on it.

Skipper Michael Hooper then bizarrely turned down a penalty kick from right in front of the sticks which would have closed the gap to just one point.

Despite trailing,  there was plenty to like about the Wallabies first half, with excellent defence and creative attack that challenged the Springboks when they went wide.

But the second half didn't go to plan, with Australia losing veteran prop James Slipper to a head knock which gave rookie Harry Johnson-Holmes his first cap.

Fellow prop Taniela Tupou was then yellow-carded for a dangerous clean-out and momentum swung back with the home side

Winger S'busiso Nkosi touched down before Jantjies snatched the ball from the back of the ruck and darted down the sideline to score with the conversion pushing the lead out to 28-10.

Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale showed some neat footwork to set up a try for Bernard Foley, but the home side were in full control.

They added their fifth of the night after full time through Cobus Reinach for a convincing win.

The Springboks face the All Blacks next weekend in Wellington.   

AAP 

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