Cheika: Springboks have that 'swagger'

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 08:03

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia coach Michael Cheika said his Australia forward pack will face a physical challenge against the Springboks, who are on a five-match winning run.

The Wallabies' scrum looked shaky in their last outing against the All Blacks, prompting Cheika to recall tight-head prop Sekope Kepu for Allan Alaalatoa.

Tatafu Polota-Nau comes in at hooker for the experienced Stephen Moore, while lock Adam Coleman returns from a shoulder injury.

"Obviously, they've got their swagger at the moment," Cheika said of the Springboks.

"They've had a couple of really good wins and traditionally, they'll look at pushing us around in the pack.

"We're going to have to be at our best to make sure we can go toe-to-toe with them,"

It has been a torrid year for Australia, winning only two of their five internationals and coming off a miserable Super Rugby season climaxed by the contentious axing of Perth-based Western Force from next year's competition.

There have been reports that the Perth rugby public may boycott the Test as a way of protesting against the Australian Rugby Union's vexed decision to cull the Force, or wear their blue Western Force jerseys instead of the Wallabies' gold.

Australia captain Michael Hooper said the Wallabies were well aware of the power they possessed in shaping people's moods at such a dark time in Australian rugby.

"We represent Australia," he said. "We have the control to change and help people's moods and feelings towards everything.

"You know, wake up on Sunday morning just stoked to be Australian and see our colours. We're fully aware of that.

"I'm pumped to see them all turn out here supporting gold - whatever jersey they wear,"

South Africa are unbeaten in the southern hemisphere championship after home and away wins over Argentina with blindside flank Siya Kolisi and Jaco Kriel standouts at the back of the scrum.

"We expect them to be very strong over the ball, both of those players [Kriel and Kolisi] are really good carriers and defenders there," Hooper told reporters ahead of Saturday's Test in Perth.

"It's a different jersey size at the end of the day from some of the guys that used to be playing to what they are now.

"But [they’re] no less effective in what they do and how they get around the field,"

Hooper said the Wallabies have their own backrow strike weapon in No.8 Sean McMahon, who was immense in the 29-35 loss to New Zealand in Dunedin a fortnight ago.

"Sean's strong in the tackle, strong making his tackles and he's good over the ball as well," Hooper said.

"It's nothing new there, just everyone doing their role and particularly Sean can have a massive influence when he gets that right,"

Kolisi has claimed man-of-the-match awards in both wins over the Pumas in Port Elizabeth and Salta and is looking at another tip top performance against the Wallabies.

"I want to play well and make sure that I put my firm hand on the jersey because I haven’t played a lot in a starting position so I am trying to use that as best as I can," Kolisi said.

"We are very young and I’ve only got a couple of Tests under my belt and we learn a lot from each other.

"We started our own culture this year that we can live by and that is what we are driving," he added.

Agence France-Presse




There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0