South Africa v Australia, Rugby Championship
Result against Springboks 'huge' - Ben Mowen
September 25, 2013
Ben Mowen won silverware in Perth, but he will hand back the captain's armband in Cape Town © Getty Images
Australia face South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday desperate to add to their lone Rugby Championship victory over Argentina, with Ben Mowen saying the players feel the team is improving with each Test under new coach Ewen McKenzie but is yet to deliver on potential. They will need that self-belief in the squad as the visitors haven't won in Cape Town since 1992, and South Africa trounced Australians 38-12 in Brisbane in their first meeting this year.
"I think that's there's a feeling in this group that we haven't played near our potential yet," Mowen said of the team he captained against Argentina in Perth, where the Wallabies won 14-13 to claim their only victory of The Rugby Championship this season,
"Although it's early on under a new coach, we're still well off in the areas where we'd like to be but that's good because the group's motivated and there's a really good feeling amongst the players. This is a really exciting challenge for us; a result against the Springboks at Newlands would be huge."
Mowen will return the captain's armband to James Horwill, who has recovered from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the team's past two Tests against South Africa in Brisbane and Argentina in Perth.
Elsewhere, the Wallabies have lost the experience of James O'Connor after the winger was dumped from the squad for the two-week tour to South Africa and Argentina for his involvement in an incident at Perth Airport. His absence plus the injury to Nick Cummins has left the visitors thin in the back three with Joe Tomane boasting just three caps and Chris Feauai-Sautia and Peter Betham both uncapped. Adam Ashley-Cooper, who has 84 caps, could be shifted from outside centre to bolster the back three.
Stephen Moore said it was important his team got off to a strong start to help the confidence of the rookies.
"There's not hiding from it so you've got to embrace it," Moore said. "The start of the game's going to ferocious and there's going to be a lot of physical contact that we've got to make sure we get on the right side of. At the end of the day talk's cheap, you've got to go out there and do it"