Tri-Nations Preview: Australia vs Springboks – 23 July 2011
Should there be a Tri-Nations in a Rugby World Cup year? Do the Bokke have any chance on Saturday? Will it be embarrassing for the Wallabies to lose to a Bok team without over 20 of their first choice players?
Probably not, of course they do and abso(bloody)lutely, mate.
Sending a young, up and coming squad overseas is a win win situation and is a wise decision by Pieter de Villiers. That’s right, I used the words ‘wise decision’ and ‘Pieter de Villiers’ in the same sentence. The Bokke have a piss-poor record on the overseas leg of the competition, having only won 3 times in Australia and never in Sydney.
If they win, it is a massive psychological boost and shows the incredible depth and talent we have in the country. If we lose (like everyone is expecting) then at least we have blooded the form players of Super Rugby tournament, had a chance to see how they compete at the highest level and have given them invaluable experience.
The Wallabies lost to Samoa last week (smile to face). Robbie Deans rested 7 of his first choice players and the back up players were found wanting albeit against a very good Samoan side. He has since brought back the stars of the champion Reds side and will be desperate for them to produce a win, so that he may again receive the full backing of the Aussie public.
Take away John Smit’s 102 Tests and this Bok team is very light on experience. Bull’s props Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling are making their debuts and the balance of the side are relatively new to Test rugby.
Cheetahs star Ashley Johnson has been rewarded for his sublime form in the Supe Rugby competition and will be hoping he, Danie man mountain Russouw and Deon Stegmann can combine to give the Bokke quality go-forward ball. All 3 will have to be immense on defense and their showing at the breakdown will be essential.
The Bok backline is missing defensive maestro Jaque Fourie but has pace aplenty in the back 3 with side step extraordinaire Gio Aplon at fullback. Have a look below at his try against the Chiefs…
Ruan Pienaar is back in his preferred scrumhalf position and his partnership with school friend Morne Steyn will crrritical!
It has been raining for the last few days in Sydney and will more than likely rain on Saturday. Even if it does not, it will be muddy and slow which should benefit the Bokke more than the Wallabies. Much will depend on whether the Bokke can match the physicality of the last week’s Samoan side and their attitude on defense.
Will Gregan Genia and Quade Burglar Cooper will be ones to watch but word in the outback is that Burglar has a bit of flu and some tummy pains and did not train today. awww, shame. If he does not play on Saturday, Kurtley Tache Beale will more than likely take his place.
The Bokke will not have enjoyed being referred to as a ‘B’ side and expect the first exchanges to be immense. Whether the Bokke can sustain the intensity for 80mins is the question. My head says they can’t but my heart just told my head to shut the firetruck up.
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Prediction: Bokke to sneak famous victory