Australia kept their Tri-Nations hopes alive when they came from behind to edge South Africa 14-9 in a tense Test in a wet and windy Durban on Saturday.
With Springboks finally fielding close to their best team, the home team raced into an early 6-0 lead - which they held till the half-time break.
And even at 9-8 going into the final quarter, there was hope that the Boks could turn around their season.
However, two late penalties gave the Wallabies their second successive win over an SA team - although not nearly as convincing as their 39-20 rout in Sydney last month.
The victory is a good boost for the Wallabies ahead of the World Cup, and a good comeback from their huge loss to the All Blacks last week.
To some extent it was a game of two halves, with the Boks dominating the contact areas and breakdown in the first half - while the Wallabies were far more powerful in the set pieces and the tackle area after the break.
For the Boks all that remains before the World Cup is next week's Test in Port Elizabeth against New Zealand and South Africa in desperate need for a win to go into the global showpiece with any kind of confidence.
There will also be concern over the hamstring injury of fullback Frans Steyn and utility forward Danie Rossouw.
For South Africa:
Pens: F Steyn, James 2
Pens: O'Connor 3
South Africa: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 François Hougaard, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Gio Aplon.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (captain), 5 James Horwill, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Radike Samo, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Anthony Fainga'a.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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