PRETORIA – The Springboks will have to quickly forget what happened in their defeat against Argentina in Mendoza if they are to muster enough of their previous powers in beating Australia in Brisbane today.
While carrying the pain of losing a Test after beating them comprehensively a week before in Durban, the Springboks have made it rather difficult for themselves in an already treacherous away leg of the Rugby Championship.
It is not to say that they would have fared any better on their journey to Australasia, which has often seen them trip up and all but surrender their challenge for a title they are yet to win.
But they would have at least entered Brisbane and Wellington a week later to face the mighty All Blacks with some confidence.
Now faced with mounting pressure to win at a venue they have only been victorious at once in nine attempts, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has called on his men to transform themselves from being perennial under-achievers in the competition to sounding a warning to their adversaries that there is still plenty of life left in them.
The truth of the matter is that the Springboks possess the personnel to inflict a third consecutive defeat on the Wallabies.
And with the changes that coach Rassie Erasmus has made, they should ignite a new start for the Springboks, especially away from home.
The Boks are yet to win away from home under Erasmus, having given away victory to Wales in Washington DC in June, and doing the same against the Pumas in Mendoza.
It is the new personnel, more so upfront, that will have to establish the foundation for the Springboks to produce a win.
And more than just dominating the set-phases, they will have to boss the breakdown and be lethal on attack and defence in the backline.
While the South Africans will fancy their chances at most areas of the game, it is the breakdown that would have been of major concern.
But with Wallaby stalwart David Pocock out because of injury, the Boks won’t be faulted in believing that half the job is done before getting on to the field.
The result of this encounter will have far-reaching consequences than just relieving the pressure Erasmus and his team find themselves under after the disaster of Mendoza.
A win will go a long way in making sure their state of mind is in the right place to avert catastrophe in the looming Test against the All Blacks.
As far-fetched as it may be to even consider the Springboks as a side that can upset the All Blacks at home, beating the Wallabies could just plant the seed of doubt in the minds of the world champions.
And maybe, just maybe, give hope to the South Africans that they can dream of being crowned champions.
“Ja, we have already (put Mendoza behind us). But obviously we still think about it.
“We are excited to play this weekend to make sure that we give our best again and obviously win away from home. We need this win for the competition so we still have a chance to win the competition,” Kolisi said from Brisbane yesterday.
Dark cloud cover hanging over the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, venue for today's @qantaswallabies vs #Springboks #CastleLager @SanzarTRC clash. @MTNza @ASICS_ZA#LoveRugby #AUSvRSA pic.twitter.com/SU6hk19e9b— South African Rugby (@Springboks) September 8, 2018
Teams For Brisbane
Australia: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Reece Hodge, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, Pete Samu, Michael Hooper (captain), Lukhan Tui, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio.
Bench: Folau Faingaa, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Ned Hanigan, Joe Powell, Bernard Foley, Tom Banks.
South Africa: Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff.
Bench: Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe.
Referee: Glen Jackson. Assistant referees: John Lacey, Paul Williams. TMO: Glenn Newman.@Vata_Ngobeni