Springboks in playoff mode for Rugby Championship

Jacques Nienaber says the Springboks will be treating the rest of their Rugby Championship fixtures against Australia and New Zealand as playoff matches as they try to defend their title won in 2019.

Nienaber opted for continuity in selection for their Rugby Championship clash with Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, making only three changes to his match-day squad – one of which was enforced – as the Boks aim to bounce back from this past weekend’s defeat by the Wallabies.

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“This is an experienced group of players who knows what it takes to deliver under pressure, and we all know what we need to do to bounce back from last week’s defeat,” said Nienaber.

“Trevor is a World Cup-winning prop and his experience, as well as Steven’s experience off the bench, will be valuable against the Wallabies, who place a big emphasis on the scrums, much like we do.

“Marvin has also been in our system for a while. He has been working hard at training, and this will be another great opportunity for him.

“We identified the areas in which we need to be more effective this week, and we have been working hard at training to rectify the mistakes we made, so the key for us will be to be as competitive as possible in every contest during the match so that we can lay a good foundation to attack from and to use our point-scoring chances.”

Nienaber expected another quality performance from the Wallabies and he looked forward to a great contest.

“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.

“We are expecting another grind of a match, but we are ready for the challenge.

“Our next three matches will be similar to playing a quarter-final, semi-final 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.”

Matthew Carley (England) has been appointed the match referee, with Luke Pearce (England) and Graham Cooper (Australia) serving as the assistant referees, while Brett Cronan (Australia) will be the TMO.

The match, which kicks off at the Suncorp Stadium at 5:05pm (9:05am SA time), will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack