Boks ready for Wallaby 'niggle'
INTERVIEW: South Africa are ready 'fight fire with fire' when they play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Springboks expect more of the niggle - which blighted the Wallabies' 9-29 loss to the All Blacks in Round Two of the Rugby Championship - when the Aussies and South Africans go head-to-head this week.
Australia have collected the most yellow cards in the opening two rounds, which also saw them concede 23 penalties.
However, it was the blatantly obvious niggle and off-the-ball stuff that cast a cloud over the Wallabies in the second Test in Wellington - a game that also produced the infamous non-gouging Owen Franks incident - that hit the headlines.
Bok lock Lodewyk de Jager admitted there are always a bit of niggle in games between South Africa and Australia.
"I think there will be a bit of off-the-ball stuff from them," he said of Saturday's Brisbane encounter, adding: "We won't stand back in that department."
Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said the South Africans are expecting a huge challenge by the Wallaby forwards, who have come under fire for their performances in the two heavy defeats against the All Blacks.
"Results are no always indicative of how teams play," Proudfoot told a media briefing at the team's training base in Brisbane.
"Test matches are determined by small margins," he said, adding that Australia are a very good side.
He described the All Blacks as a "pretty smart" team and felt the Aussie pack will put pressure on the Boks, who themselves are coming off a bitterly disappointing loss.
"The Australian line-outs have been exceptional throughout the years. In Super Rugby that was one of their stand-out departments," Proudfoot said.
"Also, their defensive breakdown is superb and their scrums are very good. We know up front it's going to be a tough challenge."
De Jager also dismissed the suggestion the Wallabies' wobbly line-outs could be a soft underbelly in Brisbane.
"They go for a lot of five-man line-outs," De Jager said, adding: "They have good jumpers in [Scott] Fardy, [Adam] Coleman and [Dean] Mumm.
"The All Blacks are a very good 'man-watching' side in the line-outs and if you have an off day they will punish you.
"In the series against England [in June], Australia won a lot of line-out ball, so it should not be a concern for them.
"They will come with some new plans in the line-outs.
"The media made a big issue of it and they would have rectified it," he said of Australia's set-piece issues.