Elsom: Bok Test critical
Rocky Elsom (Gallo Images)
Durban - Australia captain Rocky Elsom describes Saturday's Tri-Nations test in South Africa as "critical" for his Wallabies team — but not because the World Cup is fast-approaching.
The flanker followed the lead of Springboks captain John Smit earlier in the day, with both suggesting little should be read into the game in terms of World Cup chances. Elsom is instead concentrating on putting right last weekend's 30-14 loss in New Zealand.
However, Saturday is Australia's penultimate international before the start of the World Cup — with only a home game against the No. 1-ranked All Blacks to come.
Elsom said Australia's focus was on making a quick turnaround after taking a 30-14 beating against the New Zealand All Blacks in Auckland last Saturday.
He said his team had made a poor start against the All Blacks and were determined not to allow a fresh Springbok team to impose themselves early in the game Saturday.
"It's not a lot of time," he said of his team's preparation after flying across the Indian Ocean to face a Springbok team consisting mainly of players who did not travel with what was effectively a second string side to Australia and New Zealand for the opening matches of the tournament.
Although it will be Australia's penultimate match before next month's Rugby World Cup, Elsom said the focus was purely on the Springboks.
"The World Cup aside, the result on Saturday is pretty important to us," said Elsom. "We have expectations on ourselves, particularly when we come here."
Australia beat South Africa 39-20 in Sydney last month but he said that result would count for nothing in Durban.
"I think they (South Africa) will be the same as us -- they will be concentrating on their own performance. I expect they will come harder at us at the breakdown than in Sydney."
The Wallabies were without any injury worries as they completed their training with a captain's run on Friday afternoon.