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Mortlock's kick does it

Photosport

Sportal.co.nz     06 Aug 2006     Photosport

Just as Brian McKechnie and Allan Hewson achieved lasting fame with their famous goalkicks to win Tests against Wales in 1978 and South Africa in 1981 respectively, so Mortlock achieved the win for his side with a superb sideline conversion.

"Personally, from a goalkicker's perspective, they are the moments you enjoy the most, a kick to win the match," Mortlock said.

"All the training, all the work you put in, prepares you for that and then it's a matter of trusting your technique to do the job.

"As soon as Matty [Rogers] scored in the corner I was pretty much switched on to do the job."

It wasn't without its nervous moments for him as he had missed two penalty goal attempts earlier in the game.

"I felt I was due to get one. This one did feel different. I am very happy it snuck in," he said.

The success spared the Wallabies the embarrassment of having won the last match between the teams 49-0 and then possibly drawing or even losing the next game only a few weeks later.

Wallabies captain George Gregan said: "It wasn't a pretty win but it was a good win.

"We let ourselves down with fundamental errors and good pressure from them, but we needed to be patient tonight and we didn't perform as well as we would have liked but it's good to see we held our nerve and showed good composure."

Coach John Connolly said the Wallabies were showing the effects of seven Tests in nine weeks and were 'a little flat'.

"We were incredibly disappointed with the way we played at times, but we're delighted to get away with the win," he said.

By contrast, Springbok captain John Smit said it was heartbreaking after the side worked so hard for 80 minutes.

"We knew from the start we could win this game, we did enough to win it, but we just didn't come through when it really mattered.

"We'll take a lot more out of this game than the last one and we are looking forward to playing in our home Tests," he said.

South Africa plays the All Blacks in Pretoria on August 26 and in Rustenburg on September 2, and the last game of the Philips Tri Series against Australia on September 9 in Johannesburg.