The Springboks will be looking to bounce back from their two point defeat when they take on the Wallabies who will be riding high on confidence after last weekend's Quade Cooper-inspired victory.
Australia v South Africa
Saturday 18 September
To Win Match
South Africa 1/3
Australia (+7.5) 9/10
South Africa (-7.5) 9/10
Script. Spielberg. Box office blockbuster. That’s the lexicon doing the rounds in most sports pages this week as Quade Cooper marked his return with an emphatic performance to guide Australia to one of their best results under Dave Rennie.
The former Queensland Red and Melbourne Rebel was in fine fettle with the boot with all eight of his shots at goal – including the match-winner at the death – finding their target. It was an all-round mature performance from the mercurial pivot as he matched his dead eye kicking with brilliant game management.
Cooper wasn’t the only former Reds man to have a solid outing with Samu Kervei delivering a fantastic performance at 12. The big man was a constant thorn in the side of the visitors as he kept the South African midfield honest.
While Cooper and Kervei were top-notch, the Boks were just as culpable for the loss as their opponents. Ill discipline, unforced errors and errant goalkicking were the order of the day for the men in Green and Gold who just couldn’t get anything going, apart from the rolling maul.
Questions must be asked of the Springbok management who, in their defence, have hardly put a foot wrong over the past three years. However, there were some strange calls on Sunday. While Handre Pollard had an absolute stinker, I do feel he would have offered more in terms of game management late on in the piece than young Damien Willemse, who in fairness to him had a major impact on the game stopping a certain try with a magical defensive read.
Perhaps the smarter option would have been to have kept Pollard on and have let Damien come in for Willie Le Roux, who was also far from his best. To heap that much pressure on Willemse is not the smartest move considering the flack he has copped from the press over the past couple of months and that he hasn’t played that much international rugby at fly-half. Anyway, it’s a learning curve for all involved with the Springboks.
Verdict: Australia (+7.5) 9/10
Well, I’m confident South Africa will win this one, I think we’re in for another tight affair which is why I’m backing the Aussies on the plus.