Cheika rues Wallabies' 'basic set-piece errors'

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Michael Cheika was left to rue "basic set-piece errors" as Australia let a 10-point lead slip in their exhilarating 23-23 Rugby Championship draw against South Africa.

The Wallabies responded well to conceding a Jesse Kriel try in the 25th minute as scores either side of the break from Kurtley Beale and Tatafu Polota-Nau helped the hosts into a 20-10 lead in Perth.

However, the momentum swung back in the Springboks' favour as Malcolm Marx's try and the boot of Elton Jantjies put South Africa back in front and in the hunt for a third win from as many matches in this year's tournament.

Bernard Foley's penalty ensured Australia at least did not lose the match, but head coach Cheika was frustrated at his side's inability to protect a healthy lead.

"I think we made too many basic sort of set-piece errors to build the pressure required to kill that game off," he told a post-match interview.

"We defended well. We stood a little too far from the half [back]. You get a few more metres and you're into [Reece] Hodge territory or you get the free-kick.

"We couldn't close out the key moments, which kept the opposition in the game and we ended up with a draw."

Cheika, though, was content with Australia's graft and is expecting an entertaining clash against Argentina next time out.

"That stuff has been really good," he added. "No doubt about that part, about the effort in all parts of the game. 

"You just want [to see a] little bit more the trademarks in our game, especially around set-pieces in the second half.

"It'll be good [against Argentina]. They're a good team. It's always a good battle between us and Argentina. We wanted the win tonight but we have a young team learning about these situations. 

"From 10 up we should have gone and won the game."

Captain Michael Hooper regretted missing a great chance to get a win on the board after two defeats to New Zealand.

"It was a missed opportunity there. I think for the fans it was a really great game, [it went] back and forth," he said.

"The set-piece was tough for us to deal with, you'd get down there and they just kept putting kicks over our head and going back to another set-piece. 

"Credit to the South Africans they managed to grind and put the pressure back on us. We never planned on going into a hole that's for sure, but it worked out that way."