Mortlock: Boks are benchmark

Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock believes the Boks have improved since winning the 2007 World Cup.

The Boks are top of the Tri-Nations log after two convincing wins against the All Blacks, and will put one hand on the trophy if they beat the Wallabies at Newlands on Saturday.

‘Regardless of whether or not they’ve got the No 1 ranking, the Boks are certainly the benchmark in our mind,’ Mortlock told AAP.

‘There’s no doubt they’ve been improving over the past period of time and that probably culminated in them winning the World Cup in ’07. But they’ve certainly moved their game forward from there as well.’

Mortlock said the Boks were a well balanced side who were playing with a lot of confidence.

‘That comes about by being successful and understanding the systems and what you’re trying to achieve,’ he added. ‘And probably where Springboks teams in the past may have played really direct football based around their set-piece totally, these guys have the ability to use the width as they see it.

‘They have the ability to sting you off turnovers so, there’s a lot more variation in how they can do things in attack.’

The Wallabies’ build-up for the Newlands Test has been far from ideal, with coach Robbie Deans only set to join the squad in South Africa on Wednesday, after his 83-year-old father died over the weekend. The funeral will be held in Christchurch on Tuesday.

However, hooker Stephen Moore said most of the tactical work for the match had been completed during a three-day camp in Sydney before they left for South Africa.

‘The game plan against the Boks is pretty simple,’ Moore said. ‘We need to match them in the physical department.’