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July 17, 1971 – Sydney Oval, Sydney

South Africa 19 / Australia 11


Not much is available about this test apart from some Gerhard Viviers commentary (see video below) and brief descriptions of the Springbok tries. There were two changes to the South African team who played against France earlier the season at home. 

Morné du Plessis and Hannes Viljoen got their first caps in the places of the injured Tommy Bedford and Gert Muller. The South African team can be seen in the table below.  

Position

Player

Province

Age

Prev Tests

Scoring

Loose-head Prop

26

2


Hooker

27

6


Tight-head Prop (C)

29

26


Lock

35

35


Lock

24

2


Flank

29

21


Flank

29

27

1 try

Eighthman

21

0


Scrumhalfsome taext

26

2

1 try

Flyhalf

28

22

1 dropgoal

Left Wing

28

0

1 try

Inside Centre

23

6


Outside Centre

22

2


Right Wing

29

21


Full Back

26

6

2 con; 1 pen

Hannes Marais the Springbok captain on the charge in the first test.


The match is remembered mostly for the splendid run by Frik du Preez from his own twenty five beating numerous opponents before handing the ball unselfishly –with an open run to the tryline- to Hannes Viljoen to score his first test try in his first test. There was also a try by Pieter Cronje that was not awarded and but which was clearly a try according to TV broadcast replays that was shown later that night.


Australia took the lead after only four minutes via a penalty by fullback McGill. The ball was kicked into South Africa’s in goal area almost immediately from the kick-off which followed after the McGill penalty. The Aussie forced a line-out within 5 meters from South Africa’s goal line. The Springboks won the line-out and from the ensuing ruck Joggie Viljoen handed the ball to Frik du Preez. Like a human steamroller Frik set off running 40 years with the ball. He ran over 5 opponents in the process and beat a couple more with some deft sidesteps and body sway’s. McGill the Aussie fullback stood his ground but Frik went right over him and with the goal line open ahead of him Frik handed the ball to Hannes Viljoen who ran through to score. McCallum succeeded with the conversion and soon thereafter with a penalty to give the Springboks an 8-3 lead after 29 minutes in the first half.  

This picture shows Frik steaming like a runaway train through the Australian defenders to make the first Springbok try. Hannes Viljoen who scored the try is on his left in support.


Australia manufactured a typical Aussie rules football try to even the scores up 8 all within minutes after the try. McGill kicked a high kick dropping on the springbok goal line. He (McGill) followed-up jumped high and deflected the ball in the air backwards in the hands of McLean who scored.  

Top picture: Piet Greyling making a smothering tackle on a Wallaby player in the first test.Bottom picture: Bob McLean scoring Australia’s try after a typical Aussie football high kick and deflection on the Springbok goal line.


Piet Visagie kick an outstanding forty meter dropkick five minutes before half time and South Africa went into the half time leading 11-8.  

Piet Visagie who slotted a brilliant 40 yards drop goal five minutes before half time.


Almost immediately after halftime Jan Ellis scored. McCallum succeeded with the conversion. Later in the second half Joggie Viljoen scored the last points of the match with a try to bring the final score on 19-11 (McGill suceeded with penalty in the second half).  

The line-outs which South Africa won 45/23 proved to be the deciding factor in the test. 

These four pictures shows Piet Cronje’s try that was not allowed. Notice the touch judge lifting his flag while it’s clear that Cronje is still infield.

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