The Springboks head into their penultimate Rugby Championship game against Australia on Saturday knowing that nothing less than comfortable victory will ensure that their mammoth victory over the All Blacks two weeks ago was nothing more than a fluke.
The match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium also presents a chance for the men in Green and Gold to bury their Antipodean counterparts, who are reeling from their own shock loss to Argentina on home soil.
South African sides, over the years, have always been labeled as ‘too soft’, never going for the jugular when their opponents are against the ropes. This match, though, gives the Boks a chance to set the story straight and pound the Aussies into oblivion.
Siya Kolisi called on his charges to put in another massive effort against Australia today. “The Wallabies are a quality side and they showed how dangerous they are. We are not reading too much into their loss against Argentina. We know we will have to deliver a massive effort against them if we want to be successful.”
The Springboks were really up against the numbers against New Zealand but still managed to pull off a win against the odds. New Zealand trumped the Boks in all departments two weeks ago, bossing possession (75%) and territory (79%) yet still came unstuck on the scoreboard.
“We made a huge amount of tackles against the All Blacks and the guys showed a lot of heart, but what was very pleasing, was the fact that we took our chances, something we did not do in previous games,” said Kolisi.
The All Blacks made only 61 tackles, 12 of which they missed, compared the Boks’ 235 tackles over 80 minutes. The pleasing factory for Rassie Erasmus’ side is that their tackle-completion status was better than the All Blacks, with the Boks completing 83% against 80%.
The home side will also be without their centre pairing of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am, who are both out injured. Erasmus has moved Jessie Kriel in from the right wing to outside centre and has called up the Sharks’ Andre Esterhuizen with Cheslin Kolbe making his first start on the right wing.
Kolbe’s Stormers team-mate, Sikhumbuzo Notshe will also be making his first Springbok start at Number 8 in place of Warren Whiteley.
If anything, the Boks should be looking to bury the Wallabies and make their status as possible World Cup contenders known!