Quade Cooper marked his return to the Wallabies’ fly-half jersey after 1,541 days of international wilderness to kick Australia to a dramatic last-second victory over world champions South Africa.
The mercurial Cooper last played for his country back in 2017 but was handed a surprise start against the Springboks on the Gold Coast.
And his return to the fold proved vital as a last-gasp penalty from the fly-half secured a dramatic 28-26 win.
After both nations had traded early penalties, Dave Rennie’s side took advantage of Siya Kolisi’s yellow card – with Samu Kerevi finding an unmarked Andrew Kellaway out wide, who cut back inside to score.
That try gave the Wallabies a 13-6 lead, before hooker Bongi Mbonambi hit back from a rolling maul after Matt Philip was shown a yellow card.
Three more penalties from Cooper moved the Wallabies into a comfortable eight-point lead.
But that gap was cut short when Folau Fainga’a was sinbinned for a low, no-arms tackle on Ox Nche.
Malcolm Marx made the hosts pay by crashing over from the resulting driving maul at the lineout, with the try converted.
No sooner had the Boks cut the gap to just one point however, Cooper slotted a 45m penalty to put some distance between the two sides.
But another pushover try from Marx after some relentless pressure from the Boks’ pack once again pushed the world champions in front.
Damian Willemse’s missed conversion meant it was just a one-point game with less than ten minutes to go.
And that left just enough room for Cooper to be the hero as he drained another penalty from 40 metres out to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for the Wallabies.
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