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Wallabies too strong for Boks

World champions South Africa look in bad shape as they prepare to begin the defence of their title next month after an experienced line-up slipped to a 14-9 defeat against a well-drilled Australia side in Durban.

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers packed his side with Test match know-how - the starting XV had 810 caps between them - but they suffered a third defeat from three Tri-Nations matches, with a losing bonus point coming as scant consolation.

Three penalties from James O'Connor and a well-worked try from Pat McCabe, all in the second half, did the damage as the Wallabies joined New Zealand on nine points at the top of the table.

Francois Steyn kicked an early penalty for the Boks before Butch James added two more.

South Africa host New Zealand in Port Elizabeth next Saturday before the series concludes with Australia meeting the All Blacks in Brisbane on August 27.

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