Steyn kicks Springboks to Wallabies victory


South Africa moved above Australia into second in the Rugby Championship standings on Saturday by grinding out an 18-10 victory over the Wallabies in Pretoria, inspired by the kicking of Morne Steyn.

Scott Sio scored the game's only try after 14 minutes, but the Springboks' solid defence and the accurate boot of Steyn, who kicked all of his team's points, earned the home side a hard-fought win.

The result sees South Africa move a point clear of Michael Cheika's side with one round of fixtures to come - the Springboks host New Zealand next weekend, while Australia take on Argentina at Twickenham.

South Africa took an early lead when Steyn picked his spot and split the posts with an early drop-goal attempt, although Bernard Foley pulled the visitors level from the tee soon after.

Australia then made the breakthrough thanks to Sio's maiden Test try. 

Bryan Habana failed to find touch with a kick and Sekope Kepu showed quick hands after persistent build-up to send Sio under the posts.

Wallabies wing Reece Hodge has gained a reputation for his prowess when it comes to long-range kicks at goal, but he failed with three attempts on Saturday - his 65-metre effort after 24 minutes seemed particularly ambitious and fell just short of its intended target.

South Africa were struggling to match Australia for possession, but Steyn was taking his opportunities when they were presented and he pulled the hosts within a point with two penalties, the second coming after Israel Folau was sent to the sin bin.

Folau wiped out Habana off the ball as the Springboks flyer chased his own kick, earning himself 10 minutes off the field.

And Steyn had South Africa in front on the stroke of half-time with his third penalty following an infringement at the ruck by Australia.

South Africa continued to frustrate their opponents during a low-scoring second period, the Wallabies coming closest to another try when the ball was turned over within 10 metres of the line just after the hour mark.

Another Steyn penalty gave the Springboks a cushion as the contest neared its conclusion, and the fly-half ended the match as he had started it, sending a drop goal between the posts to deny Australia a losing bonus point.