Springbok coach Allister Coetzee expressed an opinion – just hours before their departure on Saturday night to Perth for their away trip in the Rugby Championship – that probably would surprise most people.
He believes the Wallabies will be a more difficult match for South Africa than facing the mighty All Blacks.
“Many people believed the All Blacks are the big game on our trip. But the reality is the Australian game is shaping up as the biggest challenge. That very much has to do with the travel factor too,” said Coetzee on Saturday.
“But the group we have now relishes any challenge that’s put in front of them. We’ll need confidence before we face Australia but as a team I believe we are in a good place.”
The Springboks are definitely not making the mistake of taking the Wallabies lightly, especially after they almost toppled the All Blacks .
“Our short-term goal is now Australia and we must be honest that we haven’t achieved anything yet,” said Coetzee.
“One must also remember that Australia haven’t lost a single lineout and statistics have shown that the most tries are being scored from turnovers and lineouts. They are also very patient and normally score from the third or fourth phase when the defence normally becomes unstructured.”
The forwards in particular should be a very tightly knit unit after this week.
“We spent two sessions with the forwards on Friday (the backs flew out on Friday night) and Saturday. The team has grown a lot, but we have to stay grounded and humbled and continue with our hard work,” said Coetzee.
Coetzee said prop Coenie Oosthuizen stayed away from contact during training but is almost completely over his rib injury, while flyhalf Handre Pollard is “looking in excellent shape”.
“If I can show you pictures what I wanted Handre to do and what he wanted to show me what he can do, you will see he is high on confidence,” said Coetzee.