The Wallabies and Springboks drew for just the second time in the history of their 84-game rivalry on Saturday night after the home side coughed up a 10-point lead in Perth – but they were ultimately fortunate to escape with a share of the spoils.
An early penalty goal to each side was the sum of the scoring in the opening 20 minutes, before Jesse Kriel dotted down for the first try in the 25th minutes after following up his own kick.
But the Wallabies scored directly from the kick-off, Israel Folau tapping the restart back to Adam Coleman, and Kurtley Beale squaring the ledger with a dazzling solo run from the next ruck.
Ahead 13-10 at the break, Australia took a commanding lead when Tatafu Polota-Nau scored from a forward drive, but opposing No.2 Malcolm Marx crossed for South Africa in between two Elton Jantijies penalties which edged the visitors in front.
Foley coolly slotted his fifth kick from as many attempts in the 70th to force a 23-all draw.
Beale was the Wallabies’ clear standout – continuing his magnificent form since returning from England – while Michael Hooper, Israel Folau, Coleman and Foley were also impressive. But a lack of impact from loose forwards Sean McMahon and Ned Hanigan, and problems at the set-piece leave Michael Cheika with plenty of work to do ahead of next week’s assignment against Argentina.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks chalked up a six-tries-to-one victory over the Pumas in New Plymouth, with the goalkicking of Nicolas Sanchez and Emiliano Boffelli keeping the underdogs in the contest before the world champs powered away late to win 39-22.
Sanchez scored Argentina’s only try right on halftime to complete a rare first-half ‘full house’ – scoring a try, conversion, penalty and drop goal in the opening 40 minutes – to grab a shock 19-15 lead.
But New Zealand scored the only three tries of the second stanza, including a brilliant solo effort from young blindside flanker Vaea Fifita, to close out a hard-fought result.