Rugby fans roast jersey gaffe as Wallabies surge to 10-year high

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Despite the numbers on the Wallabies' jerseys being almost impossible to read, the Aussies scored their second win over South Africa in as many weeks to leap up the Rugby Championship standings. Pictures: Getty Images
Despite the numbers on the Wallabies' jerseys being almost impossible to read, the Aussies scored their second win over South Africa in as many weeks to leap up the Rugby Championship standings. Pictures: Getty Images

For the second time in as many weeks, the Wallabies proved too good for South Africa in the Rugby Championship, claiming an impressive 30-17 bonus point victory.

Taniela Toupo was the star of the show as the Wallabies overcame a controversial yellow card and a lopsided penalty count to claim a 30-17 win.

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It was a fitting way for skipper Michael Hooper to surpass former captain George Gregan's benchmark for the most capped skipper of the Wallabies, with the win promoting the team to third in the international rankings.

It's a far cry from the lowly seventh spot the Wallabies occupied just a week ago, with the home side's four tries the most they've scored against the Springboks in 10 years.

Hooper came up big in the momentous match as well, making 20-of-20 tackles - a success rate seen only twice before Saturday night in a Wallabies jersey since 2010.

While the impressive performance captured the imaginations of many Wallabies fans, throughout the game it was a subtle detail on the team's jerseys that became a talking point.

Donning their usual gold shirts, the Wallabies' numbers had been printed in green, featuring an Indigenous design inside.

Unfortunately, the colours blended together somewhat, rendering the numbers themselves all but impossible to make out underneath the Suncorp Stadium lights.

Canberra Times reporter Caden Helmers suggested the specially designed numbers were maybe intended to be used with the Indigenous jerseys the Wallabies donned earlier in the year, with the numbers likely to show up properly on a jersey with a darker background.

“Numbers on Wallabies jerseys were sweet last week when they used a green base on the gold jersey," he wrote.

“Wondering if these - with a yellow base - are meant to be the ones used on the green Indigenous jerseys?”

Other fans took to Twitter after spotting the unfortunate error, nevertheless praising the team for what was otherwise a thoughtful touch.

Wallabies impress in second consecutive win over South Africa

Australia were clinical early and rallied from behind late in a 10th-straight win at Suncorp Stadium, with winger Marika Koroibete and outside centre Len Ikitau both notching doubles in the 30-17.

The result shot the Wallabies up two spots to a three-year high of third in the world rankings - they were seventh this time last week - while the Springboks relinquished top spot to New Zealand, who beat Argentina in the later game in Brisbane.

 "We want to get the country behind us and you've got to give them performances to be proud of and hopefully we've made a start on that," second-year Australian coach Dave Rennie said.

"It gives us belief and we've always felt the game we're trying to play is the right game for our group."

The win came despite a 17-9 penalty count in South Africa's favour and a moment of near-calamity as backrower Lachie Swinton narrowly avoided a second red card in just his sixth Test.

Referee Luke Pearce had all but sent off Swinton before reconsidering and downgrading to a yellow card for his high contact on Duane Vermeulen late in the first half.

The Wallabies will look to make it three wins in a row over South Africa when they face off once again next weekend. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
The Wallabies will look to make it three wins in a row over South Africa when they face off once again next weekend. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The near 40,000-strong Suncorp Stadium crowd still saw red despite Pearce rightly determining, after much deliberation, Swinton's shoulder-to-shoulder contact came slightly before the pair clashed heads.

Prop Tupou was monumental in a 78-minute shift after getting a chance to start, two big runs setting up first-half tries and then a deft no-look pass on the run to Koroibete in the second half creating a third.

Fullback Tom Banks was also in fine form before copping a knock in a tackle and suffering a fractured arm that will rule him out of the Rugby Championship and potentially November's Spring Tour.

Their defence of the Bok rolling maul - a source of three tries in a 28-26 result last Sunday on the Gold Coast - was vastly improved and Australia made 98 per cent of tackles in general play too.

The Boks kicked ahead 18-17 thanks to 11 straight points before the Wallabies found another gear in the final 20 minutes.

It left South African coach Jacques Nienaber apologising to South African rugby fans post-game for what he said was their worst performance since 2018.

With AAP

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