history will mean nothing when the Boks Take on the Wallabies in Brisbane, says Deans

2010-07-22 00:00

AUSTRALIAN coach Robbie Deans says that recent history will count for nothing when the Wallabies face the Springboks in the Tri-Nations match in Brisbane on Saturday.

Which is just as well for the Boks. Their record in Brisbane is, in a word, shocking.

The Springboks have played the Wallabies five times at the Suncorp Stadium and have not won a match. Nothing. Not a sausage. Their list of defeats is 32-20 (1997), 32-6 (1999), 29-9 (2003), 49-0 (2006) and 21-6 (2009).

The Wallabies have run in a massive 18 tries in their five Tests and conceded only three — all of them in the 1997 Test match. The Boks have failed to score a single try in their last four Tests at this venue and their losing margin of 49-0 in 2006 is the largest in 68 Tests against the Australians.

Last year their only defeat on their way to winning the Tri-Nations title was at the Suncorp Stadium.

But Deans is taking no notice of the record books.

“It is all about the here and now — as it always is. Our team is significantly different even from that which played [against South Africa] in Brisbane last year, as is theirs. The players who were involved on our side on that occasion can take confidence from that experience, but it won’t be worth any points for us on the score board once this game starts,” he added.

One South African who is excited about being back in the starting line-up, even at Suncorp Stadium, is scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who finally gets a start in his favoured position.

Pienaar has been played in almost position in the backline, but he has dislodged Ricky Januarie from the starting line-up and is now hoping that he will be able to add some spark to the Bok backplay.

Pienaar told reporters he will not model his game on the Boks’ first-choice scrumhalf, Fourie du Preez, who is out for the season.

“Fourie and me are different players. You need to add value the way you know you can. So there is no added pressure on me to play like him, although there will definitely be some kicking asked of me and that’s why I’ve been working hard with kicking coach Percy Montgomery.”

He is also not out to prove the error of coach Peter de Villiers’s ways in consistently overlooking him as a scrumhalf.

“It’s not for me to go out and prove anything. I must just do the basics well and be a good link between the forwards and backs. When you come off the bench, all you’re asked for is to make an impact, and I hope I did that [in Wellington], but it will be different starting the game,” the smooth-passing scrumhalf said.

Another Shark, number eight Ryan Kankowski who has been selected on the flank, is one who does want to prove a point. His selection, out of his usual position, has been roundly criticised, but he believes he can make his mark.

“We’ve trained well and we’re looking forward to picking things up on the weekend. You can’t always blame the referees. We have a point to prove and any team coming off a loss is more dangerous. We know we haven’t played to our potential,” Kankowski said.

He said he and number eight Pierre Spies will not play similar games.

“Pierre will stand back and cover like a classical number eight, while I’ll be staying more forward.”

For the third time in three Tests, the Boks will have to contend with an Irishman as the referee. The inexperienced George Clancy is Saturday’s referee and he follows the controversial Allain Rolland and Alan Lewis who handled the two All Black Tests.

It is an Irish joke which has not amused Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, who said the different interpretations between northern and southern hemisphere referees are hurting the Boks.

“We are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” De Villiers said.

“The Super 14 law focus is supposed to be the way the [2011] World Cup will be blown, but this does not appear to have got through to their [northern hemisphere] referees,” he said.

Saturday’s Test kicks off at 12 noon and the third Irishman in succesive Tests, George Clancy, will be the referee.

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