Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights 5 key areas that could prove vital for the Springboks when they open their Rugby Championship campaign against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Springboks have to improve their discipline if they are to emerge victorious in Brisbane on Saturday.
Despite last week’s 46-10 mauling of the World XV, the Boks were at times heavily punished by Irish referee John Lacey.
Flank Francois Louw and fullback Willie le Roux also received yellow cards, while prop Jannie du Plessis was lucky not to have received his marching orders after barging into a helpless Bakkies Botha at a ruck.
In this World Cup year, it’s important for the Du Plessis brothers to get their act together and start behaving appropriately.
Bismarck has done well since he returned from a hefty ban in Super Rugby but Jannie should have been suspended for his indiscretion last week.
2. Breakdown battle
That battle at the breakdown will be vital as the Wallabies are renowned for their prowess in this facet of play.
The dangerous Michael Hooper, as well as David Pocock on the bench, could prove menacing for the Boks in this regard.
The Springboks should be able to match the hosts there though as they feature two 'fetchers' in Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, while No 8 Schalk Burger will have to play a ball-carrying role.
I feel the Boks have enough armoury there to slow down enough ball to frustrate Australia’s dangerous outside backs.
3. Goal kicking
Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard struggled with his goal-kicking at Newlands last weekend, slotting only three of seven attempts at goal.
It’s pretty obvious that a similar success rate would not see a South African victory on Saturday.
4. Tactical kicking and Oz danger men
Pollard’s tactical kicking is still a work in progress and it’s important that he improves in that regard on Saturday.
The Boks cannot afford to needlessly kick away possession, especially not when they are facing a team with dangerous backs like Quade Cooper, Israel Folau and Matt Giteau...
5. Bok pack must dominate
The Springboks must enjoy dominance up front if they are to get the better of the Wallabies. Starving the above-mentioned trio as well as scrumhalf Will Genia of enough go-forward ball will be of essence.
Lineouts should not be a problem, but the Bok scrum will be under the spotlight. Jannie du Plessis and Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira have not had the best of times of late and will be under pressure to perform on Saturday.
Should things not go all as planned there, at least two very competent prop replacements - Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe - are waiting in the wings.
*Kick-off for Saturday's clash is scheduled for 12:05 (SA time).
15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 James Horwill, 20 David Pocock, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Drew Mitchell
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo