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Australia somehow turned a spluttering lineout, an embattled scrum and minimal territory into an 11-9 win over South Africa and a place in the semi-finals of Rugby World Cup 2011.
When referee Bryce Lawrence blew for full-time the Wallabies had their error-forcing defence and especially man-of-the-match David Pocock to thank for dethroning the defending champions. The flanker's heroic work at the breakdown saved them time after time when South Africa were on the attack.
Wallaby coach Robbie Deans described Pocock's contribution as "immense".
"His game was remarkable and it was bigger than he got credit for," added Deans.
The Australians were forced to make 147 tackles to South Africa's 53 as the Springboks sent wave after wave of big, powerful runners at their line.
"I'm really, really proud with the way the guys fought. It was a huge effort that took everything we needed. I'm just really stoked," said their captain and sole try scorer James Horwill.
"We got the result we deserved on the back of a massive effort from the whole group. Moving forward that's what it's going to take."
Aside from Pocock's crucial turnovers, South Africa were hampered by making too many mistakes in potential try-scoring situations under defensive pressure and will rue their 11 handling errors in the match. They also missed their main breakdown warrior, Heinrich Brüssow, who came off after 20 minutes.
South Africa had 84 per cent of the territory in the first half and 55 per cent of possession but still managed to trail 8-3 at the interval after Horwill scored from a Springboks mistake 11 minutes in and James O'Connor and Morné Steyn landed penalties at either end.
By full-time the possession pendulum had swung slightly in Australia's favour but the Springboks had still enjoyed 76 per cent of the territory for the match for no reward.
Springboks coach Peter de Villiers, who announced he was standing down after four years in charge, described the mood in the South Africa dressing room as "three notches lower than a funeral".
"The guys are quiet. We never expected this," he said.
"Quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals, you have got to take your chances. It didn't go our way, we didn't take all our chances. Well done to them, the few they got they took and beat us fairly on the scoreboard."
Springboks captain John Smit, retiring from rugby after 111 Tests, said losing after such a dominant performance was a "sad way to end it".
"It's the first time I have lost a game on the scoreboard and won it every other way from a stats point of view so it makes it even harder to accept," he added.
"We did enough to win this game but we just were not good enough."
Australia's lineout was at the root of much of their problems. The Wallabies lost five of their 13 throws, usually to that wily interpreter of opposition tactics at the set piece, Victor Matfield. Matfield is also hanging up his boots after 110 Tests and he was also hugely disappointed at how it all ended for his team.
"There were so many opportunities it was heartbreaking," he said.
Despite their superiority it was a penalty awarded for a South African infringement at a lineout that enabled Wallabies wing O'Connor to kick the winning goal.
Australia's scrum was often under pressure and it was only good work at the back by number 8 Radike Samo that enabled them to clear the ball. But it did not provide a solid enough platform for the backs.
Nevertheless, the Wallabies eight restricted the damage to a single penalty at the scrum, in contrast to the huge problems Ireland had caused them in the pool phase.
Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper had a tentative match and their kicking in general play was often poor, inviting the pressure back on themselves.
Deans agreed Cooper did not have one of his best nights but said he and the whole team would be better for the experience.
The match was no free-flowing try fest for the 34,914 crowd but Deans insisted they had been treated to a spectacle all the same.
"We saw an epic World Cup encounter. Different, but that's what makes this game what it is," the coach said.
"What you saw was the most experienced World Cup side in the world really turn the screws on the youngest. So, as James (Horwill) said, the boys came of age in terms of the way they accepted that challenge and stood up to it.
"I've got no doubt that the next couple of weeks will be the best World Cup rugby we've ever seen because the bar just keeps going up in terms of the capability of the sides."
Australia full back Kurtley Beale (hamstring) and inside centre Pat McCabe (shoulder) both came off but Deans said their condition would be easier to assess in another 48 hours.