Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Springboks admit Wallabies under Eddie Jones are an unknown factor

The former England boss is back in charge of the Australian team after losing his job with England.

The Springboks‘ management have admitted they don’t quite know what to expect of the Wallabies when they open their Rugby Championship campaign at Loftus Versfeld next Saturday.

Since the last time the Boks played the Wallabies during last year’s competition, Australia have had a change of coach with former England mentor Eddie Jones returning to the country of his birth to take over from Dave Rennie.

It is thus set to be an interesting clash with Bok coach Jacques Nienaber admitting that the team are not sure what to expect.

Eddie Jones’ return

“It is going to be tough for us to prepare for what Australia will bring. We are not sure if it will be more of an Eddie with England mindset or if it will be a more Dave Rennie mindset. Some of the Brumbies players only came into (camp) a little bit late (after Super Rugby) as well,” said Nienaber.

“So I think the key thing for us is to focus on ourselves and make sure that we get our stuff right, because we will only be guessing what they will bring from their side.”

Previous clashes

Last year the Boks had mixed results against the Wallabies, playing both their Rugby Championship games Down Under and emerging with one win and one loss.

Their first game was a disappointing 25-17 defeat in Adelaide, but the Boks bounced back with a 24-8 win in Sydney to clinch their first win in Australia since 2013.

“We can take a bit out of those games,” said Nienaber.

“The majority of the players who played in those games are in their squad. So, individually, we can take a lot out of the players who will play against us.

“But, from a tactical and technical point of view we are not sure, and with that we will have to find solutions on the field. The nice thing about that is we can fully focus on ourselves. We will have a look at what they did against us and in their incoming and end of year tours last year.

“But the big change is how much will Eddie buy into that (game plan) or will he start fresh. We will be loaded if they do continue on the same path but if they change we will have to find solutions in the game.”

The Boks have their own proud record at home against the Wallabies, having not been beaten in South Africa since 2011 and they will be eager to keep that record intact after next weekend’s match.

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