Rugby Championship

Hooper: Altitude will impact on Boks too

2017-09-29 16:06
Michael Hooper (Getty)

Bloemfontein - Australia's struggles on the South African highveld are well-documented, with just one win in 54 years summing up their struggles here. 

That win came in Bloemfontein in 2010, the same venue for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash between the sides, when a last-minute Kurtley Beale penalty from 55m out secured a famous win. 

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper was not a part of that side, but he knows the significance of what his team-mates achieved that day.

"I’ve seen footage and videos. I’ve talked to Kurtley about that night," he told media at Free State Stadium on Friday.

"It was a fantastic historical event for Australian rugby to get that win in the way that it went down.

"It’s a place that we’re all very keen to play at and make our own history. We know the importance this game has."

The altitude factor is always a big talking point for visiting sides taking on the Boks, but Hooper believes that dealing with the thin air is something that will impact on the South Africans too.

"We know it’s going to be tough 10 minutes in," he said.

"It’s not just for us solely; the South Africans have to do it as well. They’ve been out our way (Australasia) in the last couple of weeks and their bodies will have to get used to it.

"I’m sure you’ll see some heavy panting faces early on in the game ... both teams will want to be frantic and physical.

"It’s part of the game up here and that’s what makes such a spectacle at the stadiums … you’ve got such tired bodies at the back end of a game."

Hooper highlighted a good start as crucial to Australia's chances on Saturday. 

His side had that in Pretoria last year, but the Boks fought their way back into the game to secure an 18-10 win thanks to the boot of Morne Steyn.

"We were really disappointed. We allowed the game to get away from us," Hooper recalled.

Beale has been named in the starting line-up for Saturday. 

Kick-off is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Francois Louw, 6, Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes (from): 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Ned Hanigan, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi, 24 Henry Speight

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