Aussies won’t shy away

Jim Williams stressed the Wallabies will confront the Springboks up-front, unlike the All Blacks on the past two weekends.

Graham Henry’s team adopted a reckless approach, that the New Zealand coach claimed was the ‘best way’ to tackle a side such as the Boks. The tactic backfired as the Blacks chose to run from all over the park and avoid the forward tussles, especially the lineout.

This lack of appreciation for the fundamentals of the game was ironically used by the Boks against the Blacks last year and cost them during the Tri-Nations.

Williams, the former Wallaby loose forward and now assistant coach, said they wouldn’t fall into the same trap.

‘You do that at your own peril [adopt the All Blacks' game-plan in the last couple of matches],’ Williams told keo.co.za. ‘You can’t go wide without fronting up at the forward exchanges, it’s also easy to defend against.

‘You’ve got to get a hold of things at your own set-piece as well as at the breakdown. It’s always great to shift the ball wide, but it’s no good if you’re not going forward first.’

The Australian scrum has improved in recent times, while their lineout and breakdown execution will be far improved on New Zealand’s.

‘The lienout is an area we do a lot of work on and we pride ourselves there – putting pressure on the opposition. With our quality of player in this set-piece, we are sure we can get on the front foot,’ said Williams.

The Boks used the maul well in Bloemfontein to force the Blacks into penalties, and although it had less of an impact in Durban, Williams acknowledges culling the drive early will be key.

‘I’d be surprised if they didn’t use it,’ he said. ‘There are many variations on it and it’s evolving and changing from week to week. The pack has got to go with that and make the adaptations. It will be fascinating to see how it goes in the match.’

Williams stressed the Wallabies had set routines for Test weeks, and that their preparations weren’t hampered by Robbie Deans’s late arrival on Wednesday evening. The players will have had a three-week break after their last encounter in Auckland, since which Deans already laid out his blueprint to match the hosts’ physicality.

‘That aggression in training is good to a certain level, we’ve just had to keep an eye on it and see it doesn’t get out of hand. We’ve had a good vibe at training and in my coaching experience having that physicality in the build-up is a good thing. That bodes well for the weekend.’

By Grant Ball, in Cape Town