Wallabies keen to create rugby history - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies keen to create rugby history

By Adrian Warren 17/08/2008 05:30:58 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is keenly anticipating rather than dreading another "wounded beast" scenario as Australia attempts to create some Tri-Nations rugby history next week against the smarting world champion Springboks.

South Africa's 19-0 loss to New Zealand in Cape Town almost certainly ended the Springboks' hopes of winning the three-team tournament despite the fact their two remaining matches are at home to Australia.

Deans said while the score appeared one-sided, the contest was "anything but that" and described it as a tough encounter.

New Zealand's victory lifted them to 14 points from five games clear of Australia (nine from three) and South Africa (five from four).

The Springboks were held scoreless at home for the first time in Tri-Nations history and were also held try-less for the second successive tournament fixture.

Australia must now win at least one of their two Tests against the Springboks in Durban and Johannesburg over the next two weekends to set up a tournament decider against the All Blacks in Brisbane on September 13.

"It's hard for the Springboks now to win (the tournament), hence their likely response," Deans said from Cape Town, where he attended the game.

"They are the world champions and there's no way they will be excited about contemplating another loss."

South Africa have never lost successive Tri-Nations home games in the same season in the 12 previous years of the competition.

However the fatigue factor could possibly work in Australia's favour as South Africa will be playing for a third straight week following the match in Cape Town and last week's 63-9 rout of Argentina.

In the Tri-Nations this season, both South Africa and Australia each lost when they had to play on a third successive weekend. However, Deans acknowledged that Australia could again be on the receiving end of a "wounded beast" scenario, after they were touched up by New Zealand in their last fixture having previously put the All Blacks to the sword a week earlier.

"We've had a bit of that (scenario), but having said that it's an opportunity for us and we've got to make the most of it," Deans said.

"Without a doubt the Springboks won't want to suffer again at home and they are playing at one of their favourite destinations.

"It's a good rugby venue and it's something that we will be looking forward to."

Deans acknowledged the high intensity of the game in Cape Town and recognised Australia would need to lift in that area to be competitive next week following their lacklustre effort in the 39-10 loss to New Zealand in their most recent game in Auckland two weeks ago.

"Being there in the arena, it was very evident that any side that enters a Tri-Nations fixture that is not up for it is going to get belted," Deans said.

The Wallabies coach felt the team's unscheduled stop in Johannesburg on Friday night following a missed flight connection might actually benefit his squad.

"It possibly breaks the journey, it possibly makes it a little bit easier," Deans said.

He said he had opted for the Wallabies to stay in Cape Town until just the day before next week's Test as his preferred base in Durban hadn't been available.

Springboks captain and lock Victor Matfield said he wanted his team to finish the tournament with their heads held high.

South African coach Peter De Villiers could have an injury worry heading into next week's game, after star winger Bryan Habana came off the ground in the second half.

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