Wallabies unable to break stalemate after playing out 27-27 draw with Springboks

Bloemfontein: The Wallabies have suffered more heartbreak on the Highveld, drawing for the second time with South Africa this year after leading with 10 minutes remaining in what was an anti-climatic finish to a brilliant rugby match.

Marika Koroibete, in his first match in the Wallabies' starting XV, scored two second half tries to give Australia hope of claiming a famous win at altitude.

Leading 27-24, after Australia showcased perhaps their second best all-round performance of the year, Springboks No.10 Elton Jantjies booted a monster 49-metre penalty to level scores with 10 minutes remaining.

The Wallabies were exhausted in the dying stages, their bodies broken after a punishing rugby match at the highest intensity in conditions they are not used to.

After a blatant forward pass that was somehow missed by match officials, the Springboks marched down field and earned a penalty.

In the 80th minute, Jantjies had a chance to win the game and steal victory from the Wallabies' grasp but his kick went slightly to the right of the posts.

Australia then managed to win the ball back, thanks to their inspirational captain Michael Hooper, but were unable to come away with any points as the referee blew full-time on what was evoked d??j?? vu from the Perth Test between the two sides three weeks ago.

The Wallabies came within a whisker of winning just their second match at altitude in South Africa since 1963 but can walk away from Bloemfontein with their heads held high.

Bernard Foley was tremendous, while Kurtley Beale, who was awarded man-of-the-match honours, kept his side in the contest with another excellent performance at a ground he has tasted success at before.

While the scoreline might show an even result, the Wallabies will no doubt be heartbroken knowing they came so close to claiming a slice of history.

Earlier, the Wallabies took seven minutes to get out of their own half as the Springboks deliberately tried to keep the ball in play to get the Aussies' lungs burning in the thin air of Bloemfontein.

But it mattered little as Australia, off the back of a scrum, orchestrated a polished set-piece move that went from halfback Will Genia to Foley to Israel Folau who crossed the line and doing so broke the Australian record for the most tries in a calendar year.

Folau's 11th five-pointer for the year surpassed the mark set by Lote Tuqiri on two occasions, putting the Wallabies fullback six tries short of the world record (17).

Australia's lead didn't last long as the Springboks marched up field equalled the scores at 7-7.

A driving maul didn't do the trick for the hosts but a number of tough carries from their big men set up prop Ruan Dreyer to take the final run under the sticks.

Both sides traded penalties to make it 10-10 at the half hour mark and Australia could have had its second try shortly after had a kick ahead on the ground from Genia been seized upon by Folau.

In attack, the Wallabies looked excellent; their passing crisp and set plays working a treat. In contrast, the South Africans were relying on playing in the middle of the park with the likes of captain Eben Etzebeth and Jan Serfontein carrying the ball to line with no regard for their body.

As half-time approached, and Australia clinging onto a 13-10 lead, there was an ugly incident involving Folau, who pulled the hair of Springboks winger Dillyn Leyds to the anger of the South Africans and a vociferous local crowd.

Etzebeth and Beale both jumped into a scuffle that had to be broken up and surprisingly, Folau was not sent off.

South Africa missed a great chance to lead at the break but it was the visitors who were resolute on their own line and deserved a three-point buffer after 40 minutes of energy-sapping rugby.

The second half started with a bang as three tries were scored in the first nine minutes. The lead changed four times all up.

Beale missed a tackle on Siya Kolisi before Jan Serfontein barnstormed his way over the line but South Africa's lead was short lived.

Foley, who aside from his out of the hand kicking was superb all evening, decided to play direct and take the Springboks' line on.

The five-eighth found a small hole, darted through it, before serving up a pass on his right to Koroibete to give him his first Test try on a silver platter.

Shortly after, Koroibete racked up his second try, thanks yet again to a bullet pass from Foley, to give Australia a 27-24 lead with 22 minutes remaining.

It was a frantic finish and Jantjies had a chance to be the hero of the evening but it was not to be as the Wallabies leave Bloemfontein wondering how they did not come away from Africa with a victory for the ages.

The story Wallabies unable to break stalemate after playing out 27-27 draw with Springboks first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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