Wallabies beat the Springboks in Sydney

Australia defeat South Africa in the first game of the Tri Nations in Sydney.

Adam Ashley-Cooper goes over for Australia’s fifth try during their 39-20 victory over South Africa in the opening match of the Tri Nations in Sydney yesterday.
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Australia bounced back from their defeat against Samoa by opening their Tri Nations campaign in style with a five-try hammering of South Africa in Sydney.

But they know they will have to step up another gear for their next match against New Zealand in Auckland.

Robbie Deans, the Wallabies coach, was happy with the performance, but said: "It was a step forward, but there's going to have to be another one. We have a bit of time off now to refocus and work on some things before Eden Park, where it will go up another notch."

The Australians hit back from their embarrassing 32-23 defeat to the Samoans to beat the injury-hit Springboks 39-20, scoring five tries to two in an attacking performance at the Olympic Stadium.

Reinforced by seven top players missing from last weekend's humiliation, the Wallabies ripped apart the South Africans in a bonus-point victory as they search for their first Tri Nations trophy in a decade.

"I was confident we would be better [after last week]," Deans said. "You never presume, but the boys got the job done well. They adjusted their mentality, their body position and we played some rugby this week.

"Obviously, there were some combinations that came back together again, that all assisted."

The Wallabies will also keep the Mandela Plate they won last year with their fourth win in five Tests against the Springboks.

"The set piece was good, the scrumaging was good and importantly we got our shoulders down and we can start building some momentum, which these guys will be happy with," Deans said.

His captain, Rocky Elsom, said: "We can be reasonably happy with the way we entered the contest today, we were sharp at times but we were sloppy at times, so we've got a few things we need to work on but we can be reasonably happy."

The Wallabies showed they meant business from the outset, parked by half-backs Quade Cooper and Will Genia, and were 12-0 ahead after two tries, from Ben Alexander and Digby Ioane, in the opening 10 minutes.

South Africa left behind 21 injured front-line players for their Australasian leg of the Tri Nations. They face the All Blacks in Wellington next weekend.

"They took full advantage of the ball we spilled. Gee, I would hate to look at our turnover stats and the ball we gave away," John Smit, the South Africa captain, said.