Boks bank on Highveld boost
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 16:56
Springbok vice-captain Adriaan Strauss is banking on playing at altitude to help snap their five-match losing streak against Australia on Saturday.
The Wallabies won when the teams last met on the Highveld in Bloemfontein in 2010 and Strauss said it was time to turn the tables at Loftus Versfeld, where the Springboks have a flawless record against the Australians.
The Cheetahs skipper expects a close encounter and feels whoever finishes the stronger of the two teams would be on the winning side.
“The last 20 minutes in every game is probably the most important," Strauss said.
"It is vital to build the momentum throughout the game and then at the end you must finish them and execute well in the last couple of minutes.
“We are on the Highveld now and the last 20 minutes is going to be tough.”
Fellow forward Willem Alberts felt the Springbok pack showed glimpses of what they are capable of during their last encounter against the All Blacks a fortnight ago and said they will look to push on at Loftus.
“You go out every week just to give your best," Alberts said.
"As a forward pack we played quite well and all the individual performances seemed to be a bit better.
“I just hope as a team and as a pack we can play better this weekend and that will help everyone to lift their game.”
Alberts said they adapted well to the change in the loose trio in Dunedin, with Francois Louw playing a fetcher role and Marcell Coetzee making a major impact off the bench.
“We haven't played [together] a lot but everyone brings a different aspect into the loose trio and I thought we played quite well together with Flo [Louw] slowing up the ball at the rucks,” Alberts said.
“When Marcell comes on he brings a lot of energy and he can be a starter in any team in the world.
“It is good for us to know we can give everything on the field and when the backup comes on, he is not a reserve but an impact player.”
Alberts said the youngsters in the pack give the Springboks a healthy mix of youth and experience up front.
“The younger guys like Eben [Etzebeth] and Marcell aren't youngsters anymore, a couple of Tests in now,” he said.
“So they bring a new energy to the pack and they bring a lot of pressure to the older players to keep their game up to standard.
“As a pack we've played a couple of games together now so we are starting to gel and we are looking to improve on every performance.”
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