Wallabies must rock the Boks, says Elsom - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies must rock the Boks, says Elsom

By Jim Morton 23/07/2010 05:14:43 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom has underlined the importance of Australia kicking South Africa while they are down at the Springboks "voodoo venue".

While Saturday night's Tri-Nations Test at Suncorp Stadium is the Wallabies first in the tournament, it is just as significant to their title hopes as the battle-scarred Springboks who must win to stay alive.

A rare defeat at their new spiritual home would have Robbie Deans' inconsistent men facing the dire prospect of immediately having to put their season back on track against New Zealand in Melbourne.

The confident All Blacks are up and flying after successive 32-12 and 31-17 victories over South Africa at home.

Elsom admitted on Friday their Tri-Nations opener was his team's biggest test of the year.

"I think it will be our biggest challenge, they're the world champions and a very good side and it will be a good match," he said. "We're at home and we want to win."

After next Saturday's clash with NZ, the Wallabies travel to Christchurch and then on to South Africa's high-veldt for two Tests before finishing the tournament in Sydney against the All Blacks.

Rank Tri-Nations outsiders after showing their vulnerabilities against England and Ireland last month, the injury-hit Wallabies are still missing key forwards Wycliff Palu, Ben Alexander and James Horwill.

The Springboks, who paid the price for moments of stupidity in NZ, having forwards sin-binned early in both Tests, have their own key men absent.

Menacing lock Bakkies Botha and 100kg back Jean de Villiers are suspended while halfback general Fourie du Preez and influential back-rowers Juan Smith and Heinrich Brussow are sidelined with injury.

Controversial coach Peter de Villiers has picked his quickest team, including Sharks pair Ruan Pienaar and Ryan Kankowski in positions they've seen little time of late, to help combat their poor record at Suncorp Stadium.

The Springboks last won in Brisbane in 1971 and haven't scored a try in their last four Tests at the old Lang Park which has seen an average 34-5 scoreline in Australia's favour.

"It's certainly an issue, we haven't won there for a long time," captain John Smit admitted.

"There's a couple of voodoo venues around the world for certain teams and tomorrow we have to make sure we can change things around."

On the evidence of the Wallabies training and their pre-match comments, they will attempt to run and stun the tourists in a similar manner to how the All Blacks played and also how the Queensland Reds - with Test halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper prominent - upset the Bulls and Stormers at Suncorp in the Super 14.

To do that the Wallabies must win the contentious breakdown battle and Elsom hinted they had the best balanced back-row, identifying David Pocock as the only ball-pilfering specialist while the Boks were playing two No.8s in Kankowski and Pierre Spies.

"He (Pocock) has performed really well so far this year and he's the only genuine on-baller out there but I guess we'll have to wait and see," he said.

Australia must also match the massive, desperate South African pack up front but Smit says his forwards will take the same mindset after rating the Wallabies scrum the best of last year's tournament.

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