Rugby Championship

Etzebeth: We want to smash them off the park

2017-09-08 09:54
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth is expecting a lively start to Saturday's clash against the Wallabies in Perth. 

The Boks go into the weekend top of the Rugby Championship table and with five wins from five in 2017, but Etzebeth is expecting this to be his side's biggest challenge of the year so far. 

The Wallabies may have lost two Tests against the All Blacks already this year, but they came extremely close to pulling off an upset against the best side in the world when they went down 35-29 in Dunedin last weekend. 

That performance has made the Aussies slight favourites against the Boks. 

Addressing media in Perth on Friday, Etzebeth made mention of the importance of the first 20 minutes in Saturday's clash. 

In Dunedin, the Wallabies raced to a 17-0 lead, leaving the All Blacks with a lot to do. 

"There is always talk in any rugby game about the first 20 minutes when guys come out firing and we must just control that," Etzebeth said.

"We must also come out in the first 20 and try and smash them off the park ... I know they will do the same. It'll be like two heavyweight boxers.

"If you look at the world rankings, they're right up there. So this should be our toughest Test."

Etzebeth would not point to any potential weaknesses in the Wallaby line-up despite their scrum not firing against the All Blacks last weekend. 

"I won't sit here and identify any weak points," he said.

"Our scrum has been really good in the past two games against Argentina and that's something we try and improve on every week.

"We want to improve every weekend on all aspects of the game. I don't know of any side who goes out there and doesn't want to be better than the previous week."

Saturday's fixture is the perfect opportunity for the Boks to show just how far they have come in 2017. 

If they win, then they will begin to back themselves in an attempt to win their first Rugby Championship crown since 2009. 

But, given how well Australia played against the Kiwis, a win is still a long way away for the Boks.

"That was a good performance. They were unlucky not to win that game ... they really played well," said Etzebeth.

"We're going to look for a complete performance this Saturday."

Kick-off is at 12:00.

Teams:

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

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