Boks face Australian hurdle

2011-10-07 07:39

Wellington – South Africa’s bid to defend their World Cup title faces its sternest test yet when they meet old Tri-Nations foes Australia in a quarter-final on Sunday.

The way the draw was made, the Springboks ought to have been playing Ireland. But the Irish pulled off a shock 15-6 pool victory over the Wallabies to finish atop their group and avoid the mighty South Africans.

The Springboks are oozing experience and the team named to play Australia, the only other side to win the World Cup twice, is the most experienced ever, featuring 836 caps, surpassing the previous record of 815 posted against Wales in the team’s opening match of this tournament.

South Africa’s starting XV, skippered from hooker by John Smit, includes eight players who started the 2007 World Cup final, with a further three on the bench.

Only full-back Pat Lambie, fly-half Morne Steyn and flanker Heinrich Brussow of the starting team were not involved in 2007, while Pierre Spies was originally selected but had to withdraw through illness.

“It’s certainly quite an experienced team but that only really counts once the business is done on Sunday,” said Smit.

“We have to make sure we take our experiences throughout the World Cup and pressure games and hopefully use it.”

Bok coach Peter de Villiers, who is without the injured Bakkies Botha and Frans Steyn, said Australia were “pretty much the favourites” after having beaten the Springboks in their last four encounters.

“They are at the moment Tri-Nations champions,” he said. “We know they are a very dangerous rugby team.

“They were, for nine or 10 months, number two on the world rankings because of the way they play the game.

“They are confrontational in their forwards and get it right for most of the game. They never, never give up.

“And then their exciting backs, if you give them a sniff or space or the ball, they will run and take you to pieces.”

Australian playmaker Quade Cooper, heralded for his skill levels but quickly maligned if his daring fails, has vowed not to go into his shell come Sunday’s match.

“If we part with any of our ability or confidence we have in what we do, I’m sure that will work as an advantage for the opposition,” said Cooper.

“We don’t want to go into our shells.”

Cooper said the Springboks also had flair in their backline thanks to the likes of Bryan Habana, Lambie and Francois Hougaard.

“If they can get the ball out wide, they’ve got guys with a lot of ability,” he said, adding, however, that the battle would be won up front.

“Physicality is the first place you’ve got to start. They’re a very big side, very passionate.

“If we can match them physically the game will be a very tough occasion but one that hopefully we can come out on the right end of.”

 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.