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Springboks steamroll Australia 43-12

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) – Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a hat trick among South Africa’s six straight tries as the world champions steamrolled Australia 43-12 in the opening round of the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

Australia scored the first and last tries at Loftus Versfeld but conceded 43 points in between to underline the task new coach Eddie Jones faces at the start of his second spell in charge of the Wallabies with a Rugby World Cup looming in September.

Winger Arendse improved his free-scoring start to international rugby with his eighth, ninth and 10th tries in his eighth test for the Boks.

Leading 17-5 at halftime and getting into its stride, South Africa unleashed a ruthless performance in the second half, with Arendse completing his hat trick in the 50th minute and the Springboks adding two penalty tries – which both cost an Australia player a yellow card – and a final score by flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit.

“We can still improve,” said Duane Vermeulen, who stood in as Springboks captain for the injured Siya Kolisi.

“It’s still not 100 per cent our best performance but very happy with the result.”

Australia has lost all eight of its tests against the Boks in Pretoria since the first in 1963.

South Africa’s Marvin Orie catches the ball during a line out. PHOTO: AP

“Loftus is a tough place to come,” Wallabies co-captain James Slipper said.

South Africa also had a try by flyhalf Manie Libbok on his first test start ruled out correctly for a knock on and du Toit was held up over the tryline in two of many chances the Springboks had to increase the pain for Jones in his first test in charge since being fired by England late last year.

Marika Koroibete flew down the left wing to put Australia into a surprise 5-0 lead in the eighth minute but the visitors were on the back foot for pretty much the entire game after that.

Carter Gordon came off the bench for his test debut and marked it with a breakaway consolation try in the last minute, set up by a pass from Koroibete.

Between those moments, Australia’s pack didn’t have the impact Jones was hoping for in matching the Springboks, and recalled 35-year-old flyhalf Quade Cooper barely touched the ball in the first half and was given no chance to influence anything in the second.

The big win was also a victory for South Africa’s strength in depth ahead of its World Cup title defence as coach Jacques Nienaber didn’t even use a string of his first-choice players, preferring to instead send them to New Zealand early to prepare for a test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Nienaber believed many of his backup players were good enough to beat Australia and he was proved more than right.

The Springboks fielded a new lock pairing that included former Ireland international Jean Kleyn making his test debut for his country of birth.

Openside flanker Marco van Staden started his first test, as did Libbok, and Arendse and 20-year-old right wing Canan Moodie were part of a new-look backline.