Am: Boks won’t underestimate Australia

Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am says they won’t allow themselves to underestimate the Wallabies as they come into Sunday’s Rugby Championship clash on the back of a trio of losses to the All Blacks.

The Springboks face the Wallabies in the first Test of the Australia leg of the tournament, looking to continue an excellent run of form after back-to-back wins over Argentina in South Africa.

The Wallabies, meanwhile, are coming off three losses to New Zealand and are currently bottom of the Rugby Championship table.

Despite Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s squad featuring a balance of youth and experience and the home side coming off a disappointing Bledisloe Cup campaign against the All Blacks, Am expected a challenging Test on Sunday.

“As a new player coming into Test-match rugby, there is definitely a huge step compared to local competitions or franchise rugby. For me, it was really nice coming into a group where there were so many experienced players. It made my job relatively easy and I gained as much experience as I could going from the playing camps into Tests. The shared responsibility in the group gave me the little bits of experience that I have learned so far.

“With Australia, I think they have a fairly balanced side. There are guys with experience and there are a couple of new guys in the group. But it means nothing in a way, because you can never underestimate your opponents or use that against them.

“Australia are playing really good rugby. It’s just unfortunate that they haven’t been getting the results. From our side, we are preparing as much as we can to to come out on tops this weekend.”

Am and Damian De Allende have become a formidable unit in the Springboks’ midfield over the past few seasons and their partnership has played a key role in the team’s recent successes, which includes winning the 2019 World Cup and the British & Irish Lions series earlier this year.

For Am, however, there is still work to be done and he is determined to keep growing in his role and improving in his partnership with De Allende, in line with the team’s constant need to progress.

While Am was delighted at how the Boks have grown as a unit, he said there was a deep desire among the players and the team to keep building.

“In South Africa, we are blessed with having had great players, especially in the centres and the backline. Our generation is taking over that responsibility. I feel we are doing a good job and we definitely strive to do better and improve at all times.

“I’ve played with Doogz [De Allende] now for just over two years and I think over the years and over the Test matches that we have played together, I have gained some experience. We have been able to learn and feed off each other. It’s really working well because you know what you are good at and you know what you need to work on. We are always keeping each other on our toes.”

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Getty Images/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack