Wallabies 'fear' Loftus factor

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:11

INTERVIEW: Australia arrived in South Africa on Sunday determined to record their first-ever win at Loftus Versfeld.

The Springboks host the Wallabies in a Rugby Championship Round Five match in Pretoria this coming Saturday - a game that is vital to both teams.

With New Zealand having already wrapped up the Rugby Championship with two round to go, the focus now shifts to second place and which team makes the most progress in the race to close to gap on the world's runaway leaders, the All Blacks.

Australia, with wins over the Springboks in their last encounter in Brisbane and Argentina in Perth a week later, are currently second in the standings (followed by the Boks and Pumas (with one win each).

However, the Wallabies take on the Springboks at a venue where they have never won before and have suffered some of their biggest defeats in history.

The Boks' biggest win over the Aussies was a 53-8 hammering handed pout at Ellis Park in Johannesburg (just 55 kilometres south of Pretoria) back in 2008.

However, the second biggest defeat suffered by the Wallabies against the Boks was a 22-61 loss at Loftus in 1997 and there was also a 31-8 victory for SA in Pretoria in 2012.

Wallaby captain Stephen Moore admitted that while the Springboks have not been very good this year - just three wins in seven Tests under new coach Allister Coetzee - they would be a tougher proposition in their own backyard.

Despite the odds, the Wallabies believe there is every reason they could chalk up their third successive win- after having lost their previous six internationals.

"We've always enjoyed touring as a team and there are some tough Test matches coming up, starting in Pretoria," Moore said.

"We're focusing on Pretoria and it will be a tough Test match, after we had a win [over the Boks] in Brisbane a few weeks ago.

"The Springboks play very well at home and Pretoria is one of those grounds they always play well at.

"We would expect them to play very well, so we need to have a good week."

Coach Michael Cheika believed the two-Test road trip will allow that Wallabies to build on the foundation and momentum they got from the last two Tests.

"It's always a good trip to go to South Africa," Cheika said.

"I've enjoyed every time we've gone away on tour and this run of games, I think, is a great chance for the 2016 team to really bond together and show what it's about.

"[There are] a good few new guys in the squad, so it gives us a chance to get them into the way we're playing, and the way we want to play.

"They're going to be very passionate over there. Things are up to us really. You can be away from home, but it's about how hard we want to tackle, how hard we want to carry, all those things will count to us repelling any of the threats they have."

The Wallabies - who left Sydney on Saturday and arrived in Johannesburg on Sunday - will be in South Africa at the same time as Australia's cricketers, who have a five-game one-day international series against the Proteas.

Source: rugby.com.au

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