Wallaby coach John Connolly believes it will be a very even contest in the final Vodacom Tri-Nations Test against the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday.
“I’m not really sure. Sometimes it takes time to get back into it. Then again three weeks on the trot for Springboks isn’t easy either,” Connolly told reporters. “But they have got no injuries out of it so that’s a plus for them, but then we have trained pretty well over the last week or two.”
The Wallabies are also looking pretty good as far as injuries are concerned, apart from “a few aches and pains.” The glaring omission from the Australian touring party is gifted back Mat Rogers.
â€œHis absence is significant. He is an impact player and has been great this year. He may even have started somewhere this weekend if he had not been injured. He is a very important member of our squad.â€
Connolly was impressed with the Boks display against the All Blacks in Phokeng at the weekend and was expecting them to come out firing for the clash at Ellis Park.
“They tightened up their game considerably and I think they can be very happy with their performance. That momentum they have achieved probably makes it more difficult for us. They have gone through a lot of pain over the last couple of months and I don’t think they feel much pain after that game.
“Although they have some bumps and bruises they will be in a very confident state come Saturday. The Springboks traditionally with their powerful forwards can take the wind out of opposition forward packs. And that gives the opposition backs no momentum with which to play. They did that superbly on Saturday and I’m sure that will be their game plan at Ellis Park.”
The Wallabies have never won a Tri-Nations match on the Highveld, nevermind Ellis Park, and this year they have decided to train at altitude instead of spending the week on the coast. “We just thought we would try a different tactic this time. The altitude is definitely an advantage for the home team and it’s been a while since Australia have won on the Highveld.”
By Andrew Hollely