Back in the Wallabies starting side, Matt Giteau plans to step his way through the Springboks’ rush defence in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Springboks are playing their first Vodacom Tri-Nations match with a backline that sees three changes to the one that started against France, with Ricky Januarie in for Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie returning to the centres and Akona Ndungane debuting on the wing.
The crucial defensive partnership in this backline will be that of Wynand Olivier and Fourie who have not played together at this level. They will be responsible for the tried-and-trusted rush defence, so it is natural for someone like Giteau to believe that as an inexperienced combination, they are vulnerable.
“If they make the tackle it’s a big dominant hit, if they miss it’s a line break,” Giteau told the Sydney Morning Herald. “At times that rush-up defence can affect us and distract us and put us onto the back foot, and there’s sometimes again we can break.”
Giteau, who will be playing his first international since coming back from injury, has faced the Springbok defensive pattern before, and has seen it both succeed and fail. If the Boks don’t get it exactly right, the likes of Giteau, Larkham and Mortlock are more than capable of breaking the line and setting up the outside backs for a score.
“As long as you can execute well enough, any defence is able to be beaten,” he said.
Wallabies assistant coach Scott Johnson concurred with Giteau’s theory, and a man like the Aussie No.12 will be especially hard for the Boks to keep in check as he has such quick feet.
“They’re coming at you with such speed, it’s nice to use your feet, as it’s hard to hit dancing targets,” Johnson said.
“There’s probably nothing that Matt can’t do on a rugby pitch and we’re extremely fortunate to have the likes of both him and Mat Rogers in our midst.”