Australia v South Africa, Tri-Nations, September 5
Smit backs Wallabies to fight back
September 4, 2009
John Smit believes that the Wallabies poor run of form is temporary © Getty Images
John Smit believes that Australia's barren run of form is temporary and that the Wallabies and All Blacks are better teams than their Tri-Nations performances suggest.
The Springbok skipper will lift the Tri-Nations trophy in Brisbane tomorrow if his side produce another win, but he has sympathy for the home side after his troops endured a similar barren spell in 2006 - losing 49-0 to the Wallabies in the corresponding fixture.
"We've been in the same boat in 2006 and as tough as it was for us in those times, we knew that there was going to be a time where we came out of it and were stronger for it," he said. "It is just a matter of time before Australia, and the young guys that they've got, do find each other and do get the experience.
"You look at the points difference and the games played - the fact that we've won four - but there certainly is not that kind of difference on the field between the three teams. The three teams are still hosting the top three spots in world rugby and at any one stage we could have lost and we still can lose a game."
Smit was critical following last weekend's 32-25 win in Perth, slamming his side after they allowed an Australian comeback after having lead 22-6 at the break.
"It was a game where they finished much stronger than we did, that didn't really help in our mindset and I suppose that is one of the details we've had to work on," he said. "We did it again in the first game of the Lions series, let the foot off the gas.
"It's time for this team to start learning - when it's time to finish things off, we need to."
Australia coach Robbie Deans hailed the self-belief in the Springbok camp, but also took the chance to remind his players that they have nothing to lose in attacking them.
"They are obviously a team that is at the peak of their game, they're brimming with confidence, with good reason - but it's a great opportunity for us," he said. "It starts at nil-all. We've got 15, they've got 15 and it'll be what it is on the day."