PORT ELIZABETH – The Springboks, fresh from their superb victory against the All Blacks 10 days ago, are looking to retain their giant-killing form in Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth.
The Boks shocked the rugby world when they defeated New Zealand 36-34 in a high-scoring affair in Wellington. A week prior to the Wellington Test the Australians defeated South Africa 23-18 in Brisbane, and Saturday will offer the Boks a chance for revenge and keep their Rugby Championship hopes alive.
South African scrumhalf Faf de Klerk says they are not taking the Wallabies lightly as they strive to rectify their poor showing in Brisbane. "Our main goal has been to become a consistent team, not just a team that is one week, great, and the next, off," De Klerk said.
"That's one thing we focused on straight away... we have spoken about the need to replicate this and up our performance. On their day I don't think Australia is a worse side than New Zealand so I think this is just as tough for us. We have to make sure to get the detail right and if we do, passion and pride will come naturally."
Those details were left wanting when these sides met just over a fortnight ago in Brisbane. The Wallabies emerged with a scrappy 23-18 win as the Boks' ball handling crippled their ability to turn pressure into points.
"We were almost our worst enemy in that game... they put a lot of pressure on our scrums and lineouts and at ruck time and we couldn't get out of our half because of that pressure," De Klerk said. "Every week we count the opportunities we create - in Brisbane there were so many times we could have scored and didn't."
Being on the wrong end of the result the last time these two sides met coupled with the wariness of a wounded Wallabies outfit has the Boks primed to fire in Port Elizabeth. The stakes are still high, too, with the win over New Zealand keeping their Rugby Championship hopes well and truly alive.
"(The Wallabies) are hurting and we have recently been there so we are not going to underestimate them," said the Boks' assistant coach Mzwandile Stick. "They have a good coaching staff and you look at Beale and Genia, who on their best day can destroy any team. It is always good to beat the All Blacks but we are not going to underestimate the Wallabies."
If the Boks can replicate the level of rugby played in their last start they will be back where they believe they belong in no time.
African News Agency (ANA)