Habana hat-trick sinks Wallabies
Bryan Habana's hat-trick of tries helped South Africa to an impressive 31-8 victory over Australia in Pretoria in the Rugby Championship.
Habana, South Africa's record tryscorer, touched down in the 28th, 60th and 78th minutes while Zane Kirchner and Francois Louw also crossed as the Springboks maintained their 100% record against Australia at Loftus Versfeld with a sixth win out of six.
The remainder of the home side's points came from the boot of scrum-half Ruan Pienaar, who converted three of the five tries, as South Africa earned a second victory in five matches to lift them into second place onto 12 points.
They are four points behind unbeaten leaders New Zealand ahead of the All Blacks' clash in Argentina.
Australia, whose points on Saturday came from an unconverted second-half try from Mike Harris and a Kurtley Beale penalty, are third in the standings on eight points after slumping to their third loss.
The Wallabies were badly hit by injuries in the defeat, though, and used all seven substitutes during the match before playing the final nine minutes with just 14 men.
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer was pleased with his side's victory, which ended a run of five successive defeats against Australia, but also felt there was plenty to improve on.
One area the Springboks could have done better with was their kicking, with two conversion attempts going astray and not one of their four penalty shots finding its mark.
South Africa also turned the ball over 14 times, compared to nine from the Wallabies.
"We have very high standards, and there were three more tries that we should have scored," said Meyer, whose side face the mighty All Blacks in Johannesburg next weekend.
"It's great to come home and win, and we haven't beaten the Aussies for some time, but we have to start taking those opportunities.
"We would like to score more tries next week but we are aware of the challenge of playing the world champions," Meyer was quoted as saying by www.supersport.com.