South Africa will target revenge against Australia when the teams meet in the penultimate round of 2018 Rugby Championship matches. Their clash is scheduled for Saturday, September 29 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, kick-off at 17h05 CAT.
SA come into the clash having claimed a stunning 36-34 away win over New Zealand in Wellington on September 15. Tries from Aphiwe Dyantyi (two), Willie Le Roux, Malcolm Marx and Cheslin Kolbe, as well as 11 points from the boot of Handre Pollard, secured a historic victory for the Springboks.
The result has also given them hope of overhauling the All Blacks and winning the Rugby Championship title. NZ currently top the log with 16 points, but Rassie Erasmus’ side is second on 10 points and could chase the leaders down (though they will need a helping hand from Argentina in the weekend’s other match in Buenos Aires).
Australia, meanwhile, comes into the clash at the very bottom of the log after they suffered a surprise 19-23 loss at home to the Pumas in Queensland on September 15. The Wallabies were overpowered by the South Americans and are in danger of picking up the wooden spoon in the tournament.
Australia coach Michael Cheika has called on his side to show some spirit in their final two Tests of the Rugby Championship: “There’s an opportunity presented to us now to get some good victories overseas and that’s going to come from consistency in the way that we play.
“We have got some new additions to the squad and these guys have shown plenty of grit and determination to get an opportunity at a higher level so now we’re looking for them to add that to the mix.
“We’re very determined to make sure that we repay the faith and show people what we’re about in the way we play.”
His counterpart Rassie Erasmus has been hit by some major injury problems in the build-up, in particular, the loss of loose forward Duane Vermuelen to a hamstring injury. The Bok coach has also warned against underestimating a wounded Wallabies outfit.
“I don’t think you can read too much into the Wallabies’ loss to Argentina. We lost to both those teams and we beat New Zealand‚” he said.
“With a year out from the World Cup‚ the teams are trying and testing a few things and maybe sometimes at a cost of a loss. Argentina are a team that are on the up and maybe Australia weren’t that sharp on the day‚ but the previous week they beat us.”
Erasmus is referring to Australia’s 23-18 win over SA at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on September 8 – a match which will surely have the hosts itching for revenge.
Australia v South Africa – Head-to-Head
Matches played 87
Australia wins 37
SA wins 47
Australia v South Africa – Last five matches
8 September 2018 – Australia 23-18 SA
30 September 2017 – Australia 27-27 SA
9 September 2017 – SA 23-23 Australia
1 October 2016 – SA 18-10 Australia
10 September 2016 – Australia 23-17