The Boks shed the conservatism that has drawn much criticism in recent months and secured a four-try bonus point that ensures they now need just a point to claim the title.
De Villiers said: “It was a brilliant performance. We didn’t have the platforms to play with that we wanted, but we still managed to play with the ball we had, our defence was very good, our kicking game was outstanding as it always is and we passed the ball around to score four tries. There are a few things to work and we will study the video to do that, and there’s always room for improvement in this team.”
The Boks won comfortably despite falling foul of referee Bryce Lawrence, conceding 15 penalties to the Wallabies’ four as they struggled with the New Zealand ref’s interpretation at scrum time.
Bok skipper John Smit did not want to get caught looking too far ahead about winning the Tri-Nations, and insisted all of his and the team’s focus is on again beating the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday night.
“We’ll let the speculators concentrate on the one point.
Things that have been achieved so far become ordinary if you don’t keep on competing and it doesn’t matter what we’ve done so far, it is the next game that counts,” he said.
“We started against the Lions saying we were going to play every single game one week at a time.
“We have a poor record over here away from home and this is an opportunity to rectify that.”
Despite watching his side slump to their sixth straight Tri-Nations loss, Australia coach Robbie Deans is refusing to press the panic button.
The Test in Perth was virtually over after 17 minutes when the Springboks led 15-0 after two early tries and Morné Steyn kicking a penalty on the back of a host of turnovers from the Wallabies.
“It’s another night and they are almost the same. Sometimes when you win it isn’t much different than when you lose. For me there is no cumulative effect and every time you line up, you do your best,” Deans said.
“That’s something that in terms of resilience that we have to master such that we enter the game in a better way. There’s no doubt we contributed again by giving up a couple of soft tries. That’s detail we can master.”
Replacement Quade Cooper made a difference late in the game to help the Wallabies get two tries and could earn a starting berth next week.
Scorers for Australia: M Giteau 2 tries, 2 cons, 2 pens; L Turner try.
Scorers for South Africa: B Habana 2 tries; F de Preez, J Fourie try each; M Steyn 3 cons, 2 pens.
AUSTRALIA: J O’Connor; L Turner, R Cross, A Ashley-Cooper, P Hynes; M Giteau, L Burgess; B Robinson, S Moore, B Alexander, J Horwill, M Chisolm, R Elsom, G Smith (captain), R Brown.
Replacements: T Polota-Nau, A Baxter, D Mumm, D Pocock, W Genia, Q Cooper, D Mitchell.
SOUTH AFRICA: R Pienaar; JP Pietersen, J Fourie, J de Villiers, B Habana; M Steyn, F du Preez; P Spies, J Smith, H Brussow, V Matfield, B Botha, J Smit (captain), B du Plessis, T Mtawarira.
Replacements: C Ralepelle, J du Plessis, A Bekker, S Burger, R Januarie, A Jacobs, F Steyn.
Referee: B Lawrence (New Zealand).