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Aussies not daunted by Bok challenge

Wed, 25 Sep 2013 20:10
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It is a very driven group
Quote-end

Once you've waded through the expected cliches, there is one very powerful message coming from the Wallaby camp: 'Boks BEWARE!'

Ben Mowen, who captained Australia in their last few matches in the absence of the injured James Horwill, said they have not played near their potential yet.

The other aspect to come from a media briefing with the Brumbies No.8 is that Australia's players are also still learning to adapt to new coach Ewen McKenzie.

However, they feel that when they go head-to-head with the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday they will be in a far better position than the last time they played South Africa - which resulted in a record 12-38 loss in Brisbane.

Mowen spoke of not having played with as much "clarity" as what they wanted in Brisbane.

"We spoke about doing things in the game and then didn't get to [doing] them in the Test under pressure," he said, adding: "It was disappointing, but a pretty good lesson for this squad."

The Wallabies feel they took a step in the right direction with their 14-13 win over Argentina a fortnight ago and now have a much better idea of how to play against physically bruising opponents like the Boks.

"We will continue to chip away at those things this week," Mowen said.

"If we continue to get the quality up on the training paddock, it could transfer into the game."

He added that they are geared to play a tough physical game for 80 minutes.

"The majority of the squad knows how physical this game is going to be, how challenging it is going to be to take down the Springboks at Newlands," the loose forward said, adding: It is good to have an experience like that [one-point win in Perth], because you know you can pop out the other side if you stick to your game plan and play with calm heads.

"That doesn't make the challenge on Saturday any easier - we understand how big that challenge is.

"However, we have prepared well up to this stage and we have to make sure the rest of the week goes the same."

While a win over the Springboks at Newlands would be a "huge" boost for the Australian psyche, Mowen said a lot need to fall into place.

"It is a combination of working together as a group, under a new coach - it does take time," he said.

"The important thing for us is we just got to be patient and keep chipping away, improving our game.

"The really important thing is that the attitude is really important amongst the group - it is a very driven group.

"Although it is early on, under a new coach, we are still well off in areas in terms of where we want to be.

"The group is motivated and there is a really good feeling among the players - this is a really exciting challenge for us.

"It is only going to be a matter of time [before it comes together]. Off the back of a tough win against the Argentinean team, the guys are in a really good head space.

"We are excited by the challenge, not daunted."

By Jan de Koning

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