Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick insists that the Springboks have the utmost respect for a wounded Wallabies team, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Port Elizabeth.
While the upbeat Boks have settled in at their PE base following a memorable victory over the All Blacks, the Wallabies are coming off the back of a humbling defeat at home against Argentina that has continued to ramp up the outside pressures on the team.
That result has left the Wallabies dwindling down in last place on the Rugby Championship standings, having mustered just five log points from four games.
So although the Springboks will head into Saturday’s clash against Australia as understandable favourites, Stick certainly didn’t give the impression of someone who was bluffing when he reiterated just how dangerous the visitors could be.
‘They are hurting at the moment and we understand that because we’ve been there before. They’re going to come hard at us, and you only have to look at the likes of Kurtley Beale and Will Genia, who can destroy any team on their best day. You can’t underestimate those guys, and with [Israel] Folau coming back, they’ve got a really strong side.’
When the Boks faced the Wallabies in Brisbane earlier this season, the hosts went into the clash without the likes of injured David Pocock and Folau, but the influential duo are now back in the mix.
Stick said the Boks had certainly not forgotten the pain of that defeat in Australia, especially after opening up an eight-point lead within the first half hour.
‘Our discipline wasn’t at its best against the Wallabies; if you think back to the penalty we conceded just before half-time and how we also switched off a bit to concede a soft try before the break. Australia are not a bad side, they have dangerous players, and will punish you if they get a sniff.
‘Our breakdown and set pieces have been challenged at times this season, if you think back to the losses away from home, so we know that there are lots of areas where we can keep improving.’
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