It was the best team performance in the Dave Rennie era, but it will be remembered as the night Quade Cooper’s comeback hit dizzying heights.
The only thing Australians love more than an underdog is a comeback and the Wallabies treated the public to both tonight.
We’ll do it all again on Saturday, when the Wallabies face the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium.
Quade Cooper had a perfect night with the boot and kicked Australia to victory with a penalty goal after the full-time siren to complete a 28-26 upset over World Cup champions South Africa on Sunday.
Cooper was a surprising selection to face the Springboks for his first Test since 2017 after Australia were swept by New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup, which also counted as the first two games of the Rugby Championship.
⏰ Time is up and Australia have snatched victory by 28-26 with Cooper kicking the match-winning penalty goal after the hooter. Well done to the @wallabies on a great win – we go again next week. #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #RSAvAUS pic.twitter.com/lwDQDT0QUw
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 12, 2021
The mercurial fly half didn’t miss an opportunity. The 33-year-old Cooper landed six penalties and a conversion at 100% accuracy for 23 points, leading Australia to their first win of the tournament.
The Springboks were coming off a series win over the British and Irish Lions and back-to-back wins over Argentina in South Africa and had rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second half to lead the Wallabies 26-25 going into the final minutes.
But they don’t win often in Australia’s northeastern Queensland state, and were undone by some uncharacteristic missed place kicks. Handre Pollard missed three and Damian Willemse was unable to convert from near the sideline in the 73rd minute.
Both teams had to grind in an attritional game that featured four yellow cards — two for each team.
Australia led 19-11 at halftime, with Cooper contributing 14 points via three penalty goals and a conversion.
Pollard and Cooper exchanged penalties to make it 6-6 before momentum shifted when Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi was yellow carded in the 16th minute for a dangerous tackle on Australian fullback Tom Banks.
The Australians scored quickly with the one-man advantage as Samu Kerevi made a break in the midfield and floated a pass to Andrew Kellaway, who stepped inside the defense on the right wing.
Pollard missed a goal in the 22nd and South Africa missed another scoring chance four minutes later when center Am Lukhanyo knocked-on in the tackle of Australian scrumhalf Tate McDermott after chasing a kick into the in-goal area.
After being repelled in repeated phases on the tryline, South Africa capitalized in the 28th after Australian lock Matt Philip was yellow carded for collapsing a rolling maul. Hooker Bongi Mbonambi dived over from the back of a driving maul to make it 13-11, but Pollard missed the conversion.
Cooper added two penalties before the break and Pollard missed another shot at goal early in the second half befo