Australia’s poor winning record in South Africa will not play on the minds of the Wallabies in their run-in to Saturday’s Test Tri-Nations Test match in Durban.
News 24 reports that Robbie Deans, Australia’s New Zealand-born rugby coach, said the succession of defeats suffered by the Wallabies since 2000 will not present his team with a mental barrier in the two upcoming Tests against the Springboks.
“Without doubt, it’s very much a mind game,” said Deans, who has hardly ever tasted defeat in South Africa during his tenure as coach of Crusaders, the Super 14 outfit.
“You’ve obviously have to have physical prowess to play at this level and from that point on it’s very much about how you harness your thoughts. Without a doubt teams have put up their own barriers.
“If for example you stand at the bottom of Table Mountain and think you can’t get to the top, you won’t.
“It all comes down to what happens on the day. Nothing that has gone before really matters. You’ve just got to be on the job. We’ll focus on the job at hand this Saturday, and not worry about the past.”
The Australians were rounding off their training session on Tuesday at about the time the Springboks were announcing their match-day 22 for Saturday’s Test but Deans said his team’s preparations would have no bearing on the make-up of Saturday’s opposition.
“For us it’s all about maximising what we can do in a match and then select the best combination for us,” said Deans. “That’s one way you can do well in any game. We’ll just worry about getting our selections right and we won’t alter that based on who is playing for South Africa.”
Deans said the injury-enforced absence of Springbok win Bryan Habana did not mean that the Springboks would be losing experience. The Springboks are an experienced side already. If it comes to experience then Australia is second already.
“We will make the most of what we got on the day but obviously a player like Habana is remarkable – he can do things that others can’t. His absence is not something we will dwell on. We will just get on with what we have to do.”
The Wallabies will take a break from training on Wednesday, and will resume training on Thursday morning, after which they will name their starting XV for the Durban Test.
The Tri-Nations tournament has not been too hard on the Wallabies in Durban. Since the start of the Southern Hemisphere showpiece in 1996, Durban have hosted two matches between the two countries, with each side enjoying a win. In 2000, the Aussies ran out 19-18 winners and in 2004, the Springboks triumphed 23-19.Tweet