Francois Louw will fight a lone battle to limit the Australians, but it won’t be enough for a Bok victory.
Louw is the most improved of the Springboks in the last 12 months. He is as good, if not better, than Michael Hooper as an out and out fetcher, but he also contributes more generally than Hooper.
Neither yet has the all-round influence of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, but when it comes to fetcher on fetcher two of the game’s best will be on display in Brisbane.
There is healthy respect between the two camps, but as I’ve written all week I think the balance of respective loose-trios favours Australia.
I also think the Australians will get enough phase ball from the lineout to be effective. Their scrum is poor and took a beating against the All Blacks. I believe they will struggle as much in the scrums against the Springboks.
It is the only area of the game I see a significant Bok advantage and the lineout strength of both teams is on a par.
South Africa isn’t as dominant in the lineout without the likes of Victor Matfield and Andries Bekker, especially when contesting.
The Boks will always bring physicality to the contest but I’d have like to have seen a selection, less physical but more mobile for this specific match-up.
Quade Cooper and Will Genia, as a combination, will be effective in Brisbane and expect Israel Folau to have an influence.
I have Louw to play a big game, but I also have the Wallabies winning by 7, possibly as much as 10 points.
Check out SA Rugby Mag’s Jon Cardinelli’s preview. Cardinelli is in Brisbane with the Boks.