Boks to the future
Boks to the futureSHARE
Although it has been over 20 years since the Wallabies beat them at Newlands, the Springboks have their sights set firmly on the future rather than the past.
The Boks all attended the opening of the impressive Springbok Experience Museum at the Waterfront in Cape Town on Tuesday where they were able to reflect on the proud history of the national side, but they know that the past will count for little when they run out at Newlands this weekend.
Loose forward Siya Kolisi told the media that although the Boks are aware that they have not lost to Australia at Newlands since 1992, that will not have much bearing on what happens when the game kicks off on Saturday.
"I know it is a very good record but the record won't win us the game on Saturday, so we have to pitch up. We are just going to try and focus and be ready for the game," he said.
Although the Wallabies have battled to find any real momentum in the Rugby Championship, with their only victory a slender one-point win against the Pumas in Perth, Kolisi said that writing off coach Ewen McKenzie and his team would be foolish.
"We are focused on Australia, they are a good side and their coach took over just after they had lost the British and Irish Lions series but he is a really good coach, you saw what he did for the Reds.
"They are a great outfit and they will want to improve so they will come hard and it will be tougher than it was in Brisbane.
"They saw what we can do so they will probably turn it up a notch, but we have also been working hard on our mistakes.
"So we are putting all of our focus on Australia and putting the past behind us," he explained.
Much has been made of the controversy surrounding the Boks' defeat to New Zealand at Eden Park, but that is another piece of history that they want to put behind them.
Kolisi said that the team was not happy with their performance against the All Blacks in Auckland and will look to make a step up in their one on one tackling and tactical kicking.
"I think we slipped up on our one on one tackling and our kicking game, we can definitely put ourselves in better positions to play from," he said.
The Boks have made a step up at the breakdown this year, but Kolisi warned that Australia will pose a significant threat in that area.
"We are working hard at the breakdown, we want to improve every week and our new coach [Richie Gray] is working us quite hard on it, we know that it is the most important part of the game.
"Michael Hooper is a good player, we know that so we have to secure our ball and be quicker to the breakdowns, so we have worked on that this week.
"If we get fast ball to our backline players we know we can do a lot of good things, so we have worked on it throughout the week so that we can be on par with previous games," he said.
Although many will be anticipating another bonus-point win after their big victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane, Kolisi said that the focus will be on sticking to their structures and ensuring they get the win before chasing the bonus point.
"We are just going to stay with our gameplan, a win would be perfect for us and a bonus point will be actually quite a bonus for us so we will just stay focused on what we have to do and execute better," he said.
By Michael de Vries