Rugby Championship

Boks look to atone for Oz loss

2014-09-23 16:07
John McFarland (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Springboks will be buoyed by their recent defeat in Perth, Australia, where the Wallabies snatched victory in the dying minutes, South Africa's defence coach John McFarland said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"For 78 minutes we were good in Perth but we allowed them to score in the first and last minutes," McFarland said ahead of the Boks' Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies at Newlands on Saturday.

"You could say we were one minute away from winning both games (also against the All Blacks a week later) and we were hanging on."

Australia dealt the match-winning blows with a first-minute try by fullback Israel Folau and another in the 77th minute by wing Rob Home.

Australia won 24-23 after flyhalf Bernard Foley converted Home's try, when the Boks were leading 23-17 with three minutes remaining.

A week later, in Wellington, New Zealand were leading 14-10 with two minutes left, when the Springboks mounted a desperate last-gasp attack to salvage the game, before Duane Vermeulen was held up a whisker away from the try-line.

McFarland said the two upcoming Rugby Championship Tests would pose a different threat from those in Australasia.

"At international level, the [size] of the threat is the same, but teams have the 'X-factor' and that's what we need to look out for.

"Australia have real game-breakers like Folau for instance."

The Boks' ever-improving defence was evident against the All Blacks, who surrendered 11 ruck turn-overs in Wellington.

"We were pleased with our efforts against New Zealand, especially because in that match we had the most turn-overs against them.

"We also had a high tackle count and only really had possession in the last 15 minutes."

The hosts would be drawing heavily on home support at Newlands on Saturday.

"Over a period of years I've seen the benefits of playing at home. You sleep more because you're not dealing with time zones, and with family and friends around everything is just more pleasant.

"The adrenaline levels are also higher. The Boks have had to play three away games on the trot. No other team has had to do that."

Coach Heyneke Meyer is set to announce his team for Saturday's crucial clash on Wednesday.


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