Wallabies face road trip from hell
Wallabies face road trip from hellSHARE
Australia will arrive in South Africa on Monday for the start of what has been described as the road-trip from hell.
Not only will they play back-to-back Rugby Championships – against the Springboks at Newlands this coming Saturday (September 28) and the Pumas in Rosario a week later – but the Wallabies then head to New Zealand for the third and final Bledisloe Cup encounter of the year.
They will hardly have time to put their feet up before departing on another demanding five-Test tour of the Northern Hemisphere – which will see them take on England (Twickenham, November 2), Italy (Stadio Olimpico, November 9), Ireland (Dublin, November 16), Scotland (Murrayfield, November 23) and Wales (Millennium Stadium, November 30).
Regular team members face the prospect of playing eight consecutive offshore Tests in the space of 10 weeks.
The Wallabies, who have won just two of their seven Test this year, are winless on the road in 2013.
By the time of their final game against Wales on November 30, Australia will have slogged through 12 Tests in 15 weekends and that doesn't include the three intense battles with the British and Irish Lions at the start of their international campaign.
No wonder the likes of recent stand-in skipper Ben Mowen barely has time to reflect on his rapid rise through the ranks over the past three months.
The Brumbies captain and back row forward didn't make his senior international debut till late June, but has started all of Australia's past seven Tests, leading the team in their last match against Argentina.
"To be honest I try not to reflect at this stage, because I'd just like to hammer out the year and then I'm sure when it comes to Christmas time I'll get time to sit down and reflect," Mowen told the Australian Associated Press before the Wallabies left for South Africa.
"Just the way that the season is laid out, at the moment, you can have recharges in between, but you are so quickly refocusing on the next game, that you can't really afford to be looking back too much.
"You've got to be looking forward to the next contest and keep yourself moving.
"But it's been a great ride for myself this year obviously.
"A lot of firsts for me and it's been a very rewarding year."
Mowen felt the matches in South Africa and Argentina would allow Australia the chance to continue developing combinations under new coach Ewen McKenzie.
"The more time this group has had together the better our performances have been on the training paddock and on the field," Mowen said.
"I think this is going to be a really important period.
"The prospect of possibly getting two really huge wins on the road against two sides that play extremely well at home, I think, is an exciting challenge for the group."