Kepu out to slay the Beast
INTERVIEW: Wallabies tighthead prop Sekope Kepu is eager to show Tendai Mtawarira who's boss at scrum time when the Springboks host the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Josh Isaacson reports.
Scrum dominance is always a big factor for teams when laying a platform for victory and it will be no different during the 80 minutes in Pretoria.
Kepu played against Mtawarira (loosehead prop) on numerous occasions at both Super Rugby and international level and he will be hoping to use that familiarity against his opponent at scrum time.
"It's always a tough battle against the Boks," Kepu told reporters at the team's base in Johannesburg.
"They’ve [Springboks] got a great front row and they rebuilding and they’ve got a lot of guys there that have been there for a long time.
"I've had some great battles against him [Tendai Mtawarira] and you always try and test yourself against some of these players - it's an exciting challenge."
Kepu believes that playing at altitude is one of the challenges they have to overcome if they are to beat the Springboks.
"They [Springboks] are always tough at home," Kepu added. "They never easy and especially up at altitude for us big fellas, but those are the challenges you face in rugby and that's the beauty about the sport."
Kepu added that the Wallabies will be focused on putting in a committed effort on the training field throughout the week in order to be mentally and physically prepared for a 'tough battle' against the two-time World Champions.
"Winning away games in Test matches is not always easy and especially here in South Africa where rugby is a big part of their culture and the Springboks are a big figure in their history.
"We will prepare as best as we can, because we know the big challenge that's ahead of us. In saying that, it's about us doing what we can do and preparing as best as we can.
"I know they are going to be tough and we got to bring our 'A' game," explained Kepu.
The Wallabies head into this clash against the Springboks after back-to-back victories over South Africa (23-17 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane) and Argentina (36-20 victory at NIB Stadium in Perth) earlier this month.
Australia currently find themselves sitting in second position on the Rugby Championship table with nine points which includes two wins and two defeats.
Both of the Wallabies losses in this year's Rugby Championship came against the All Blacks in August.
The last time the Wallabies played the Springboks in South Africa was during the 2014 Rugby Championship and on that occasion South Africa captain Jean de Villiers scored two tries in the final ten minutes of the game as South Africa outscored the Wallabies by four tries to one on route to a 28-10 bonus-point victory at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town.
Australia's last victory over the Springboks in South Africa came in a 14-9 win over the Springboks in Durban in 2011.
Australia head into this clash against the Springboks in third place on the latest World Rugby rankings. South Africa are currently sit in fourth position on the World Rugby rankings.
By Josh Isaacson