First-five Morne Steyn kicked all South Africa's points in an error-strewn 18-10 victory over Australia in their Rugby Championship clash at Loftus Versfeld.
Australia dominated possession but wasted numerous forays into Springbok territory with unforced errors as the home side clung on for a victory that lifted them into second in the table, 10 points behind New Zealand, who have already sewn up the Championship title.
Steyn booted four penalties and two drop goals as the Boks ground out the win, easing the pressure on coach Allister Coetzee as they recorded a second victory in five matches in the championship.
Prop Scott Sio scored the only try of the game for Australia, with midfielder Bernard Foley adding the conversion and a penalty.
It took South Africa two minutes to get their hands on the ball after the kick-off as Australia rolled through the phases without success, but it was the home side who led as Steyn landed his first drop-goal.
Australia levelled with a Foley penalty and were then rewarded for some incessant pressure with a first international try for Sio as he ran in under the posts.
The Wallabies led 10-3 after 15 minutes but their next two visits to the South African 22 resulted in turnovers and they were unable to build on that momentum.
Instead it was the home side who capitalised after Steyn added a penalty.
They then reduced the gap to a single point as Wallaby fullback Israel Folau cynically obstructed a charging Bryan Habana to not only concede a penalty but also receive a yellow card from English referee Wayne Barnes.
The Boks grabbed the half-time lead when Australia went offside and Steyn landed another penalty.
Wing Reece Hodge missed two kickable penalties for the visitors in the opening six minutes of the second period as they continued to camp in the Boks' half.
But the home side clung on and in the final 10 minutes began to assert some control as the Wallabies battled with the altitude and appeared to run out of ideas.
Steyn added a fourth penalty with five minutes remaining and then made the game safe on the hooter with a second drop-goal in what was his first start in two years.
Australia handed a debut to Fiji-born wing Sefa Naivalu, two weeks after he became eligible to represent the country, when he came on for the final 10 minutes.