Auckland - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has warned their Rugby World Cup quarter-final opponents Australia to be prepared for some serious scrums.
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“It will be a challenge for them in the scrums, our scrum is exceptionally good at the moment,” he said on Sunday.
“We use it as a good platform to play from and a guy like Pierre (Spies) gets enough time to go off the back of it.
“Our lineouts aren’t bad either, but if they get their team selection right against us, we will be challenged."
Obvious threats in the Wallaby team include their halfback pair of Quade Cooper and Will Genia, while close tabs will have to be kept on the versatile Kurtley Beale.
De Villiers said his men will have to be careful of allowing those players to attack from broken play.
“They’re dangerous in turnover play and in space,” said De Villiers.
“We know that and we saw how Ireland cut off their space and how Samoa cut off their space.
“This is one area we want to look at - we want to cut off their space and force them to play deeper."
The Bok mentor said this week’s challenge will be an entirely different one to the physical onslaught his men had to endure against Samoa.
“Australia won’t be easy, but they will be easier," he said.
“Firstly they won’t be as physical as Samoa, but they will try to be. It is just Samoa who can be as physical as that because it’s part of their nature. Secondly, we understand Australia and we know what they do.
“We’ve been playing them for years, and they’re not likely to change anything this coming week. For them it will be easier and for us it will be easier.”
It will be the first time South Africa and Australia face each other in a World Cup quarter-final.
Australia secured victory over South Africa the last time they met, in Durban, before going on to win the 2011 edition of the Tri-Nations.
De Villiers was nonetheless confident his men have what it takes to set the record straight.
“If you look how we were a year ago, and how we needed to play catch-up rugby, to where we are now, then you can see a big difference. We begin by playing in our structures and we do it well.
“The first and especially our last game, we played total rugby.”
The fact that his charges have missed an average of 26 tackles per match is not a major concern either.
“There were linebreaks against us, but if there weren’t when would we be able to practice our scramble defence? Overall though, if you compare last year and this year there was a big difference."
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