South Africa v Australia in Sydney (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Christopher Pollock (New Zealand)
The Tri Nations rugby tournament gets underway in Sydney tonight. The symbol of supremacy in test rugby between New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, the Tri Nations this year also serves as a warm up for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, now only a few months away.
Australia has an uphill battle to prove some points in Sydney. Firstly they will want to wash away the disappointment of the result and their performance against Samoa last weekend. Without taking anything away from Samoa, the Australians were caught on the hop and a lot of that was blamed on complacency and inexperienced players. That excuse won’t hold up this weekend. Australia came to earth with a thud and the only way now is up. A second dud performance will be followed by sharpening of knives.
Some of that sharp edge may well be pushed in the direction of coach Robbie Deans who has a somewhat uncertain relationship with Australian rugby. During poor patches of form from his team over the last two years Deans has certainly come under fire from the media, past players, fans..well..everyone really. I can’t see Australia changing coaches so close to the 2011 Rugby World Cup but a poor performance wont stop the critics.
Thirdly, Australia is playing a South African side that on paper is..er..ordinary. Some 20 top notch players are back in South Africa nursing various wounds and the Springbox are not expected to be at full strength until South Africa plays its two home tests (The Tri Nations has been shortened due to the Rugby World Cup). A loss or poor performance against ‘South Africa B’ will be unacceptable to Australian rugby fans. Robbie Deans will be sitting close to the edge of his seat than the rest of the Australian rugby public tonight.
South Africa did this in 2007. In that year they won the Rugby World Cup after resting key players before the tournament. Are they doing the same again? Yep!
Last Five Encounters
04.09.2010 Australia 41-39 in Bloemfontein (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
28.08.2010 South Africa 44-31 in Pretoria (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
24.07.2010 Australia 30-13 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
05.09.2009 Australia 21-6 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
29.08.2009 South Africa 32-25 in Perth (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
The last test between these two nations in Sydney
07.07.2007 Australia 25-17 (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
The Last Time South Africa won v Australia in Sydney
31.07.1993 South Africa 19-12
The First Test Match Between These Two Nations
08.07.1933 South Africa 17-3 in Capetown. This was the Australian’s first test on their long tour of South Africa that year.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 1st, Australia 5th
IRB Ranking Points
South Africa 86.44, Australia 85.45
Prediction: South Africa by 8 points. A result that will turn Australian rugby on its head!
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Patrick McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 William Genia, 8 Benjamin McCalman,
7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, Capt. 5 James Horwill, 4 Robert Simmons, 3 Benjamin Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Pekahou Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matthew Hodgson, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nicholas Phipps, 22 Anthony Fainga'a
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit, Capt 1 Dean Greyling
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Ryan Kankowski , 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charles McLeod, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers