It was billed as the “Battle of the Bay” and it was the Springboks who delivered the knockout blow which put a brave Australian team out for the count in front of 41,300 blood-thirsty fans.
After their heroic Rugby Championship win over New Zealand in their previous match, the Boks scrapped their way to a hard-earned win.
Both teams were out on their feet when the hooter sounded to signal the end of an absorbing showdown between two of rugby’s oldest rivals.
Suddenly South Africans are looking forward to next year’s World Cup in Japan, because this is a Bok team on an upward trajectory.
It was a defeat that piled more misery on Australia who are bottom of the table with just a single win to their name after five rounds.
The victory enabled SA to stretch their unbeaten run at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to six matches and consolidate the venue’s reputation as being a fortress for the Boks.
Ahead of the clash, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus warned Australia were a dangerous team and that his men would have to maintain their intensity if they wanted to get over the line.
The Boks have blown hot and cold this season, but consecutive wins over New Zealand and Australia are good omens.
It was the Boks who struck first after halftime when cool-head Handre Pollard struck his third penalty to stretch his team’s lead to 23-12 after 45 minutes.
Australia then enjoyed their best spell of the match, and the Boks were forced to build a brick wall defence to hold them at bay.
The Boks were down to 14 men in the 64th minute when wing Aphiwe Dyantyi was sent to the naughty chair by referee Jerome Garces.
It was all hands on deck then for the Boks as they fought to hold onto their 11 point advantage.
SA took just 30 seconds to get on the scoreboard when livewire wing Dyantyi intercepted a loose Australian pass from Kurtley Beale to dive over and give his team a dream start.
The Boks could not have wished for a better launch pad against an Australian side who entered the game low on confidence.
After their fast start the Boks took the fight to the Wallabies who were pinned in their own half and forced to defend.
Bok skipper Siya Kolisi had the home crowd on their feet when he went on a storming run down the touchline before he was dragged down by the Wallaby defence.
The Boks had to wait until the 20th minute for their second try when pocket rocket scrumhalf Faf de Klerk went in under the posts to his team into a healthy 12-0 lead.
This stung the Wallabies into action and their dangerous backline were suddenly probing the Bok defence for openings.
The pressure paid off when Reece Hodge squeezed in at the corner after evading the Bok defence to narrow the Bok lead to 14-5 after 25 minutes.
It was the Australians who were on the front foot now and Will Genia raced in for his team’s second try after 29 minutes.
That left the Boks with a 14-12 lead and the Wallabies were suddenly back in the contest.
With the first half winding down, Pollard kicked two penalties for the Boks to put some daylight between the sides.