South Africa v Australia, Rugby Championship
Wallabies steeled for Springboks assault
September 25, 2013
The Wallabies do not expect South Africa to deviate from a forwards-based power game © Getty Images
The Wallabies are bracing for a South African onslaught with the Springboks needing to win well and claim a bonus point at Newlands in Cape Town to keep alive their hopes of beating New Zealand to take The Rugby Championship title. The All Blacks are four points clear of South Africa atop the ladder, and they are tipped to pick up a bonus point themselves against Argentina on Saturday.
The Springboks have proven their willingness to throw the ball around this year, scoring 32 tries in seven Tests compared with 23 in 12 Tests in 2012, and they were convincing 38-12 winners over Australia in their first meeting this year, at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, scoring three tries in 10 minutes in a second-half burst.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer is hoping for a dry track at Newlands to get his backline involved. "This is a must-win game," he said. "We gave ourselves the opportunity to still win the championship but we are going to have to play two great games.We want to play positively and attack and score tries."
Ben Mowen, who captained Australia in their hard-fought win over Argentina, in the injury-enforced absence of James Horwill, acknowledged the Springboks' ability to run the ball even though their strength was still in their forwards.
"I certainly think they're more balanced and they showed us in Brisbane they can score tries on you quite quickly," Mowen said. "They've always had a potent backline they probably haven't played to it as much as they would have liked. I don't think the balance has shifted too far away; they're a physical side and they know that's a huge part of their game. They've got their eye on the Rugby Championship so they're talking bonus points so we'll see how that pans out."
Mowen is set to relinquish the captaincy to Horwill, who has overcome a hamstring injury to add grunt to the Wallabies pack. "I really enjoyed it and I enjoyed the fact that we got the win because it was a really important period for the team," Mowen said of his Test as captain. "I thought we were deserving of the result but he's been a really good leader and he'll just slide back in."