David to slay Goliath in Brisbane
David to slay Goliath in BrisbaneSHARE
Australia expect the Springboks to target their understrength forward pack and offset the Wallabies' backline supremacy in the Rugby Championship Test in Brisbane on Saturday.
South Africa concede that the Wallabies have the edge in the backs and the visitors have selected a powerful forward pack as they seek a ninth consecutive Test victory and remain unbeaten in their third match in the Southern Hemisphere tournament.
Australia, while looking full of attacking intent with Quade Cooper at flyhalf and Israel Folau shifted from the wing to fullback, lack a core of experienced forwards.
Skipper James Horwill's withdrawal on Thursday with a hamstring injury only added to the absence of seasoned campaigners following earlier injuries to David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Wycliff Palu.
Apart from 81-Test hooker Stephen Moore, prop James Slipper is the only other forward to have played more than 28 Tests and the back five average just 12 caps between them.
But playmaker Cooper says his forwards will rise to the challenge and lay the platform for a potent backline.
"I have full faith in them," Cooper said Friday.
"The boys are fantastic players. The boys really step up [against the Boks].
"I think it's that David vs Goliath approach when you are confronted by something a lot bigger than you and more physical than you, you put in a lot more heart as well, and that goes a long way.
"We have a lot of skillful players and when you are playing against a big team, nine times out of 10 skill is what gets you across the line – using your skill and using it wisely."
Tighthead prop Sekope Kepu said the Wallabies forwards know they must negate the Boks power game, to build on set-piece pressure and mauling and lay the platform for their backline.
"The Boks have a big pack, we can't shy away from that, but we'll be doing our best to counteract that," he said. "[Coach] Ewen McKenzie has picked a team who can meet them up front but also run them around.
"We're hungry to get back on track and put some wins on the board."
Kepu has a pivotal role to remedy the home scrum which was pushed around by the All Blacks in their opening two defeats in the Championship and faces the battle-hardened Boks front row of Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis.
The Springboks, boasting back-to-back victories over Argentina, have not won in their past eight visits to Brisbane and Heyneke Meyer's men are looking for their first success in Australia in four years.