Stephen Larkham described Andre Pretorius as significant to the Springboks revival and was equally flattering of Jean de Villiers and Wynand Olivier as a midfield combination.
Larkham, who told the media the Wallabies could beat jeglag, altitude and the Boks on Saturday, added the Wallabies would have to suffocate the attacking skill of Pretorius and the midfield.
“They were much improved and looked very impressive at stages. I think their combination at centre was a formidable one and I think since the start of the Tri-Nations this year they have really grown as a backline. Pretorius coming back into the side has certainly helped in some decision making and giving them a little bit of latitude out in the backline. Andre is pretty good defensively but his big strength is in attack. He kicks the ball very well and has an accurate boot and with ball in hand he attacks the line more than other flyhalves over here. We are going to have to be on our toes defensively.”
The Wallabies have not won at Ellis Park since 1963 and they have only won once in 11 tests since their initial 1992 success against the Boks at Newlands.
But Larkham believes the breakthrough could finally come on Saturday.
“I’ve played over in South Africa for the last 10 years and it’s not that different. I just think it is the preparation and they are a different side at home. You are away from home, away from your family and away from your usual preparation. I don’t think the altitude as such has anything to do with the game, I think it is a natural approach coming into the game where we have to fly. In South Africa the crowd seem to spur the side on and their players seem to play a lot better over here. You certainly feel it (altitude) in the first 10 minutes then you get your second wind and settle into the game. It doesn’t bother you after that, it is a mental thing going into the game that affects players.”