Springboks take lessons from chastening past defeats in Australia: ‘We’ll have to be at our best’ | Sport

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  • The Springboks return to their place of strange nightmares, Australia, this weekend to face the wounded Wallabies.
  • The Boks lost twice to Australia there last year and tackle the same uphill task in this Rugby Championship.
  • Assistant coach Deon Davids says they’ve reviewed the areas where things went wrong in their twin 2021 defeats to Dave Rennie’s men.

Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids says they’ve reviewed the areas where things went wrong during their ill-fated two-match mini-series against the Wallabies in Australia last year.

The Boks lost to a Quade Cooper late penalty, 28-26, in the first game before shipping four tries in a 30-17 calamitous performance in Brisbane a week later.

Much like this week, Australia were considered weaklings in the Rugby Championship, yet they did the double over the Boks – something not even the All Blacks have managed since Rassie Erasmus took over in 2018.

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The Wallabies are again being side-eyed as early write-offs for Saturday’s Test in Adelaide after losing Cooper and captain Michael Hooper, two players responsible for last year’s destruction.

Dave Rennie’s men also conceded seven tries in a 48-17 massacring by Argentina in San Juan last time out.

But, having lost at Ellis Park to the All Blacks and coming off a tough Wales series, there’s no halo of invincibility around these Springboks.

“We analyse and look back on our games on video where we can improve and where we did well,” said Davids.

“Australia is a difficult place to tour and the Wallabies are a quality side with a quality coach. They’re very competitive.

“Every game that you play away from home in this Rugby Championship is a tough game – when you tour New Zealand, Argentina and when they come to South Africa, it’s tough to win.

“We’ve got huge respect for our opponents and we need to improve on the lessons we’ve learnt from last year.

“Going into this game, we understand it’s going to take a massive effort from everyone and we’ll have to be at our best to do well.”

Fallible as they are, the Boks could be ripe picking for an Australian team coached by a tactically astute New Zealander in Rennie, the ex-Super Rugby-winning Chiefs coach.

‘Camp is in good spirits’

The Boks also have a miserable win record Down Under, where they’ve not tasted victory since 2013 under Heyneke Meyer and where they once suffered the famous 49-0 loss under Jake White.

Jacques Nienaber’s men are walking almost gingerly through the Outback looking to avoid being bitten by poisonous snakes in foreign territory, as has happened, metaphorically speaking, on many past occasions.

Davids said they were looking to improve on the Ellis Park letdown, where they were outfoxed by an under-pressure All Blacks side that they skinned a week earlier in Mbombela.

“The camp is in good spirits and all of us are working very hard,” he said.

“We’ve analysed the game and looked at areas where we want to improve. We’re just looking forward to improving on our performances this coming weekend in all the different departments.”



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