The Australian side for Saturday’s clash against South Africa certainly looks dangerous – on paper, at least. A backline comprising Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Rob Horne, Quade Cooper and Will Genia will put fear in the hearts of any team having to face them.
Michael Hooper and David Pocock (from the bench) will certainly be a far stauncher test for our loose forwards than last week, while Stephen Moore and Bismarck will also be in the fray on the ground. The inclusion of Will Skelton at lock is no surprise, although I suspect there will be a scary moment or two where he and Eben Etzebeth will front up, eyeball to eyeball.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald provides another perspective:
“The fear for the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday night is not necessarily the strength of the opposition, but that they might turn up with their guns still in their holsters. It has been more than a month since James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia and Quade Cooper played. That is long enough for rust to gather, regardless of how demanding the drills have been in the meantime.”
Last weekend’s mismatch at Newlands at least gave us the opportunity to apply some Q20 before the real McCoy. The virtually unchanged side will hopefully be able to build on this against Australia.
A comment by Heyneke Meyer, that the centres picked for Saturday will need to be at their defensive best, might be an indication of what we can expect, although most SA fans would like to see a repeat of the attacking approach by De Allende and Kriel last weekend. Lambie’s inclusion on the bench may be a clue that our approach will be more adventurous than would have been the case had Morné Steyn been picked there.
Much is made of South Africa’s favourable draw, and the chance to win the Rugby Championship. It will be nice to win, and a morale booster for RWC, but should not be our first priority. After a dismal Super Rugby series, we need to gel into an outfit ready to face the All Blacks in the semi-finals and pull a “France” on them.
I quite like the fact that old “school master” Nigel Owens will handle the whistle. This will be of significant benefit to South Africa should the Wallaby front row try their normal tricks when being outscrummed. Let’s just hold thumbs that Heyneke’s faith in Beast and Jannie is rewarded.
Talking of Jannie – this hilarious clip, posted on the Sport24 website, had me in stitches. Please do not open if strong language offends you. It shows the Führer’s outrage at the selection of Jannie for Saturday’s test against Australia.
Daar word vertel dat een van die WP stutte gevra is om sy kennis van Engels aan te dui voor hy vir die Bokke oorweeg kan word. Hy moes ‘n sin maak wat die woorde “defence”, ”attack” en “quarrel” bevat.
Sy poging – “I climbed over defence, picked attack of grapes and ate it quarrel for quarrel” was skynbaar nie in die kol nie.