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South Africa Takes Rugby Championship Lead as New Zealand Wins

South Africa Takes Rugby Championship Lead as New Zealand Wins
Rugby players James O'Connor of the Wallabies is tackled during the Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, on September 7, 2013. Photographer: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

South Africa beat Australia 38-12 to break a 42-year winless drought in Brisbane and move atop the Rugby Championship ahead of titleholder New Zealand, which defeated Argentina 28-13.

The Springboks scored four tries to none last night at Suncorp Stadium, including three in a nine-minute span in the second half, to secure their biggest victory over the Wallabies on Australian soil. Fly-half Morne Steyn kicked South Africa’s other 18 points, while Christian Leali’ifano booted four penalties for the home team.

By claiming the bonus for scoring four or more tries, the Springboks edged one point ahead of the top-ranked All Blacks in the southern hemisphere championship standings before the teams meet in Auckland next week.

“It’s a massive challenge,” Springboks captain Jean de Villiers, who scored his team’s second try, said in a televised interview. “They’re a quality side, the No. 1 team in the world. We’ll have to be at our best to be able to beat them. We’ll enjoy this win, but then get to Auckland on Monday and start all over again.”

Replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen crashed over for the opening try in the fifth minute at Suncorp Stadium, where Australia had won all seven previous meetings between the teams. Steyn converted and added three first-half penalties to give South Africa a 16-6 lead at the break.

Two penalties from Leali’ifano and another to Steyn made it 19-12 before the Springboks stunned the home team with a three-try burst as inside center De Villiers, full-back Zane Kirchner and winger Willie le Roux all raced over.

‘Not Good Enough’

Australia, which fell to its third straight defeat under new coach Ewen McKenzie, hosts Argentina in Perth next week with both teams seeking their first victory in this year’s competition. The Wallabies have lost five of their six Tests in 2013, their worst start since 1958.

“We’ve got to do better, it’s as simple as that,” McKenzie said in a televised interview. “When you wash it down, there’s a bunch of small moments where individuals have to do better. It’s just not good enough.”

South Africa’s last win Brisbane came in 1971 at the Exhibition Ground.

New Zealand beat Argentina in rainy conditions at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, a victory that was marred by a tournament-ending knee injury to captain Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks outscored the Pumas by three tries to one with scrum-half Aaron Smith touching down twice. Fly-half Dan Carter returned from injury to kick two conversions and two penalties and lift his world-record tally to 1,409 Test points, becoming the first player to break the 1,400-point barrier in elite international matches.

New Zealand, which opened its title defense with back-to-back wins against Australia, also got a try through winger Julian Savea, while Beauden Barrett added a penalty. Juan Manuel Leguizamon opened the scoring with a try for the Pumas, who got their other points from the boot of fly-half Nicolas Sanchez.

McCaw left the game after an hour with a knee injury. The team later said it was a medial ligament injury that will rule the openside flanker out for four to five weeks.

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