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RUGBY WRAP: Boks end year on a high; Australia produce epic comeback and Sharks smacked at home

We take a look back on a weekend that saw the Boks end their year off on the best possible note, Australia stun the Welsh and the URC return.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

We take a look back on a weekend that saw the Boks end their year off on the best possible note, Australia stun the Welsh and the URC return.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Autumn Nations: 14-man Boks outplay England at Twickenham

The Springboks produced an inspired all-round performance to see off England 27-13 at Twickenham on Saturday despite a Thomas du Toit red card in the third quarter. In what was their final game of the season, Jacques Nienaber’s charges put on one of their best displays of the year to thoroughly outplay the hosts at scrum time and in the air. The side continued to experiment with their counter-attacking game, which produced an absolute belter of a score in the 33rd minute through Kurt-Lee Arendse. In so doing, the diminutive Bulls flyer became the third Bok to score in six-consecutive Test matches.

Despite their underwhelming year, the men in green and gold will head into the 2023 Test season with momentum. The coaching staff has developed depth in a number of key positions and the side is well-placed to stage a proper World Cup title defence in France.

For England, the Twickenham result was their sixth defeat of 12 Tests this year. With so many question marks remaining around the composition of their strongest XV, Eddie Jones will have his work cut out for him in the Six Nations.

Autumn Nations: Aussies come back from the dead to stun Wales

Australia came back from the brink to claim a thrilling 39-34 victory over Wales at the Principality on Saturday. The hosts imploded in the final 22 minutes, conceding 26 unanswered points as the injury-ravaged Wallabies pulled off a comeback for the ages. If reports in Wales are to be believed, the WRU is considering appointing Warren Gatland on a short-term contract to steady the ship heading into the World Cup, with Wayne Pivac’s time in charge looking increasingly likely to come to a premature end.

Australia were missing seven tour players to injury already, including former skip Michael Hooper, Nic White and Andrew Kellaway, to say nothing of long-term absentees Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper. The result was an encouraging one for Dave Rennie, whose side departs for home with a two-from-five record in Europe.

URC: Three out of four wins for SA

The Sharks were the only SA franchise not to beat a Welsh counterpart this weekend after they were embarrassed 35-0 by Cardiff at Hollywoodbets Kings Park. Sean Everitt’s men were utterly outplayed by a side that took full advantage of the wet conditions in Durban to claim the first win by a Welsh team on SA soil in the URC. It was also the first time the Sharks/ Natal had been blanked in a game since England beat them 19-0 in 1972.

In the rest of the SA results, the Stormers saw off Scarlets 36-19 in Cape Town, the Bulls beat Ospreys 43-26 at Loftus and the Lions claimed a 33-25 win over Dragons in Johannesburg. Elsewhere, Ulster outclassed Zebre 36-15 in Belfast, hosts Benetton bagged their fourth win of the season thanks to a 24-17 defeat of Edinburgh, Leinster smashed Glasgow 40-5 at the RDS and Munster won 24-17 at Thomond Park over Connacht.

Weekend highlights

Check out some of the weekend’s best moments.

Arendse finishes off Bok firecracker

Damian Willemse and Willie Le Roux set up Kurt-Lee Arendse for this first-half beauty at Twickenham.

Lonergan completes Aussie comeback

The Wallabies completed their remarkable comeback at the Principality through this Lachlan Lonergan score late on.

Ralston steals one back for Connacht

Byron Ralston showed great awareness to bag this one for Connacht at Thomond Park, though it was ultimately in vain.

Russell bags Leinster hattrick

Rob Russell scored three for Leinster in their rout of the Warriors.

Duvenage produces bit of class

Former Stormers man Dewaldt Duvenage executed this shrewd bit of play to set up fellow Saffa Rhyno Smith at a crucial moment in Benetton’s eventual win over Edinburgh. 

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