Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Oz out to match Bok lineout
Johannesburg - The perception of many South Africans was that it was the Springbok lineout that made the difference in last week’s Vodacom Tri-Nations test in Pretoria, but it is a view clearly not shared by the Wallabies.
Experienced Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe told a press gathering in Umhlanga Rocks on Thursday that his team were confident they could match the Springbok lineout, spearheaded by Victor Matfield, in the next match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Asked if the Wallabies had sorted out their lineout issues, Sharpe nodded his head emphatically: “Yeah!”
But then he went a bit further when pressed, and said there had been no issue.
“If you look at the game, there really was no issue previous to the last few minutes,” said Sharpe.
“The South Africans made a big fuss about it afterwards, so it made it appear there was a problem, but we did not see it that way. It was just a few small mistakes at the end, we did not view it as a major problem and we feel we are definitely on the right track in the lineouts.”
Sharpe said that the new players who had been introduced to the Wallaby pack this week had all fitted in well and were ready to play without there being any disruption to the Australian system.
“They have all been part of the squad for a while so they have fitted in well this week,” said Sharpe of hooker Stephen Moore, lock Mark Chisholm and No 8 Ben McCalman.
The Wallaby lock said he was over the ankle injury that blighted him early in the week, and Matt Giteau, who went over on his ankle at a training session on Wednesday, was also walking around the team hotel quite freely and without any apparent after-effects.
“Matt is one of those guys who often gets carried off and squeals about it but then afterwards he always seems to be fine and can play quite easily,” laughed Sharpe.