JOHANNESBURG - Brisbane has not been kind to the Springboks post isolation and former Springbok wing Akona Ndungane knows all about the perils of facing the Wallabies at the Suncorp Stadium.
Ndungane made his international debut 12 years ago in the Springboks darkest hour against Australia when they were massacred 49-0 at the very same venue as Saturday's Rugby Championship encounter between the two nations. To add to that, the Springboks have only won one out of nine Tests played in Brisbane since returning to international rugby 26 years ago.
While the pain and embarrassment of that day will never fade away, Ndungane believes that a Springbok win will go a long way in exorcizing the demons of Brisbane and in easing the painful memory of his debut.
“Not really ease the pain but it will go a long way for the morale of the team. I don’t think Rassie will go back to that moment. But for them going forward they will be looking to cause an upset in Brisbane and improve on that record we have. The focus, though, at the moment is to get the win and move to the next one in New Zealand,” said Ndungane who was part of the Springboks 2007 World Cup winning squad.
Ndungane feels that it is the Wallabies that will want to use the Springboks horrid record as a source of motivation considering that they have had the worst possible start to the competition in losing both their games against the All Blacks.
“The Springboks results in that place will always play a factor but the Australians have just performed well against the Springboks there. They will go back to that moment (49-0) to motivate themselves especially after not having a good start to the Championship. They will certainly fancy their chances of pulling off another upset there.”
Springbok legend Joel Stransky presented the team with their match day jerseys on Friday in Brisbane. He's joined here by Rassie Erasmus, Cheslin Kolbe and Siya Kolisi. pic.twitter.com/dkJ3RkiSks— South African Rugby (@Springboks) September 7, 2018
History will be a constant reminder to the present day Springboks of the nightmare that could unfold in Brisbane if they don’t put their best foot forward and Ndungane believes the Springboks will have to start well and maintain control of the game if they are to write a new chapter in their ugly history at Suncorp Stadium.
“What is important for the Springboks is to have a good start. They haven’t had a full 80 minutes performance. They’ve had a bad start and a good ending to most of their games this year but never a good start. I’m hoping they will have an all-round performance from the whole team. This is the time for guys to be counted especially after the loss to Argentina in Mendoza. It is going to be important for them to get the victory before travelling to New Zealand especially for their confidence,” Ndungane said.