Boks aiming to bounce back after ego-bruising Wallabies defeat
The Springboks, who suffered a narrow defeat to Australia in the Rugby Championship, have their eyes set on a much-improved performance as the sides clash once more.
After a closely contested affair that ended in Australia earning a narrow 28-26 win over world champions South Africa, the two world rugby giants are set to clash once more.
Springboks Jacques Nienaber coach cited ill-discipline as the main chink in their normally impenetrable armour as they fell to the Australians.
The defending Rugby Championship champions conceded 11 penalties against the Wallabies in Gold Coast, with flyhalf Quade Cooper dispatching seven of them expertly. They also had to play portions of the match one man short after Siya Kolisi and Willie le Roux were sin-binned on different occasions.
Nienaber says his side is ready to bounce back from that unexpected setback.
“Australia were desperate to win last week, and it showed in the way they played,” said Nienaber. “There is no doubt the result would have given them confidence, so we are expecting them to deliver a similarly driven performance this week.
“That said, we know what we are capable of as a team, and we created sufficient opportunities to win last week, but we didn’t capitalise on them. So, we back our systems and structures, and it is now a matter of being as effective as possible in executing our plan.”
Easier said than done though, especially considering that the Australians have won eight straight Tests at the venue for the key clash, Suncorp stadium, dating back to 2016. A second victory for the Wallabies will also see them wrestle away the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate from the South Africans.
Nienaber is conscious of the fact that his side will have to dig deep and likely have to win all their remaining matches in the Rugby Championship crown in order to defend the crown they won in 2019.
After the Wallabies follows a double-header against the always formidable New Zealand.
“We are expecting another grind of a match, but we are ready for the challenge,” said the Bok coach. “Our next three matches will be similar to playing a quarterfinal, semifinal and final if we want to defend our Rugby Championship title, and we are under no illusions about what it will take to achieve this.”
The Bok players who had an off day the last time out, particularly flyhalf Handre Pollard and centre Lukhanyo Am, will be keen to showcase the skills which have made them household names in the rugby world.
“We know where we went wrong and it was very upsetting to lose like that, with the mistakes we made. It was difficult to watch,” Boks captain Kolisi added “We have worked really hard on what we must do. We made such simple errors. We can be much better this weekend, and we will be.”
Kolisi’s Australian counterpart Michael Hooper will become the Wallabies’ most capped captain when he leads the side out for the 60th time on Saturday. He topples the record set by George Gregan in his 113th game in Australian gold since making his debut nine years ago.
“It’s an incredible milestone for Hoops on Saturday evening in Brisbane and it’s a testament to him as a person and a player,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said on Hooper’s milestone. “I’ve been so impressed with his leadership both on and off the field and his drive to be better every day.”
Though Rennie is hopeful that his skipper can once again lead the Wallabies to sweet victory over the Boks rivals, he is fully cognisant that the world champions will come out charging in an attempt to make amends for their display in that narrow loss.
“We were really proud of the effort from our men last Sunday and we’re well aware of the ferocity that a wounded Springboks outfit will bring to Suncorp Stadium.”
Kick off is at 9:05am SA time and the match will be broadcast live on Supersport. DM
15-Willie le Roux, 14-Sbu Nkosi, 13-Lukhanyo Am, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Makazole Mapimpi, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Faf de Klerk, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Franco Mostert, 6-Siya Kolisi (captain), 5-Marvin Orie, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Bongi Mbonambi, 1-Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse.
15-Tom Banks, 14-Andrew Kellaway, 13-Len Ikitau, 12-Samu Kerevi , 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Quade Cooper, 9-Nic White, 8- Rob Valetini, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-Lachlan Swinton, 5-Matt Philip, 4-Izack Rodda, 3-Taniela Tupou, 2-Folau Fainga’a, 1-James Slipper
Replacements: Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia.