Wallabies ready to break veldt drought - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies ready to break veldt drought

By Ed Jackson 20/08/2010 03:30:42 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies departed for South Africa on Friday confident their 47-year wait for a win on the high veldt is about to come to an end.

Australia hasn't won on the veldt since 1963 when John Thornett's team snuck away with an 11-9 upset at Johannesburg's Ellis Park and the Wallabies' last high-altitude match in the Republic finished in a 53-8 hiding in 2008 early in coach Robbie Deans' reign.

Next Saturday's Test against the Springboks will be held at a venue - Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld - where Australia have never won in four attempts while the following week's Tri-Nations clash is in Bloemfontein, where the Wallabies' one win from three trips came in 1933.

But with Super rugby teams making regular trips to the supposed graveyard of the veldt and Australian players increasingly used to securing results in those matches, Deans believes altitude can no longer be seen as the problem it's often made out to be.

"It's (altitude) not the hurdle that it has been because of the fact that we've experienced rugby in that circumstance more often," Deans told reporters on Friday.

"Super rugby players play there a lot. I think we're seeing over time in Super rugby that the home and away thing is becoming less relevant."

Nonetheless Deans believes it will take a mammoth effort by his players to come away from their two-week South African safari with wins, particularly as the Springboks will be stung by their three away defeats in the early weeks of the Tri-Nations.

The ex-Crusaders mentor admitted he'll be keen to see how the world champions respond when they tackle the All Blacks in Soweto on Saturday (Sunday AM AEST).

"Without a doubt they're going to respond to their circumstances," Deans said of the South Africans.

"This is an unusual circumstance for them in recent times.

"You'll see a response and we're going to watch that with interest in the first instance and then we'll be part of it the following week.

"We'll be looking to win, we're going there to win. It's not an impossibility at all, absolutely not.

"We're capable of it but it also comes back to the fact that it will take a good effort."

Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom isn't just out to break the long-standing Test win drought on the veldt, he wants to come home with two wins.

"We did it in 2008 (in Durban) but you don't seem to get a lot of them," Elsom said of wins in South Africa.

"That's the focus for the trip, a couple of wins.

"Everyone's played at altitude so I guess you're aware of what's coming.

"It's not particularly comfortable once the game gets going but it'll be the same for both sides and we can't do a whole lot about that.

"Our focus is to go over there and win.'

Elsom is also looking forward to replicating the physical attacking approach which gave the Wallabies a dominant win over the Springboks in Brisbane in July.

"You can't shy away from that," Elsom said.

"They've got some big units and we've got to front up and meet them.

"That's what we did well in Brisbane, is face them head-on.

"We like to play an attacking style and we haven't done that as much as we'd like since we played them but we can't expect anything until we get over there and see what we get."

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