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Rob grabs Springboks by the Horne to secure Aussie victory

Winger Rob Horne’s last gasp try sealed a dramatic win for Australia.

Rob Horne (11) was the hero for Australia in Perth earlier today.
Rob Horne (11) was the hero for Australia in Perth earlier today.
Image: Stringer

WING ROB HORNE scored a thrilling try in the dying minutes as Australia overhauled front-runners South Africa 24-23 for their first win of this year’s Rugby Championship on Saturday.

Horne stepped off the wing and inside the last defender as he finished off a backline move with two minutes left, before Bernard Foley landed the crucial conversion to seal victory by a point.

Australia profited from the controversial late sin-binning of South Africa’s Bryan Habana in his 100th Test as they climbed off the bottom of the southern hemisphere tournament’s table.

The decisive try came just seconds before Habana was due back on the field following his yellow card for a high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper, which replays showed was unlucky.

The result was a surprise after the unbeaten Springboks won 38-12 on their last away game against Australia, who were coming off a 51-20 hiding in Auckland.

However, in eight games between the two sides at the Perth venue, it was the eighth settled by less than seven points.

“You’ve got to be happy to see your wing finish the game by scoring in the corner — lovely,” said Australia captain Michael Hooper, who also praised Foley’s ice-cool conversion.

“It’s his show, it’s his moment, he loves it. He had an outstanding game at 10, controlled the boys well and gets the icing on the cake at the end.”

The Springboks defence led 23-14 when Habana was penalised and they defied Australia for most of the period that they played a man short, holding off three powerful attacks on the line.

It looked like the Wallabies would have to settle for just three points, from a Foley penalty, for their efforts during their period of advantage.

But the inclusion of Kurtley Beale in the 73rd minute lifted the Wallabies.

“The coaches have been big on reserves coming on and making an impact, and they did,” Hooper said.

“We thought it was in our control — too many penalties in the first half and they punished us. Morney (fly-half Morne Steyn) can convert them from everywhere.”

The Wallabies needed a good start after their demoralising loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland two weeks ago.

And they got it when Foley and Matt Toomua linked up to open up the South African defence for Israel Folau to spear through for his 15th Test try.

But the Springboks stuck to their game plan of kicking the ball whenever they could and caused the Wallabies plenty of headaches that resulted in penalties.

The six converted penalty goals by Steyn were almost enough for a third straight win for the visitors after they opened their campaign with two victories against Argentina.

“I thought we played pretty well in stages, but they played well right to the end and scored the try,” said South Africa captain Jean De Villiers.

“It was a bit tough to defend with 14 players and a few mistakes cost us.

“I thought we did well in the first-half to play the conditions well, but we made a few bad errors in the second half.”

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