Australian playmaker Matt Giteau has been lined up in the cross hairs of Pierre Spies and any Springbok predators lurking to exploit the low trajectory of the No 10s kicks that have been frequently charged down in recent matches, throwing the Wallabies into turmoil.
SAPA reports that Australia coach Robbie Deans acknowledged this week that Giteau’s kicks were a source of concern, particularly without the back-up boot of Berrick Barnes, who was ruled out Saturday’s Test in Perth due to concussion.
Giteau himself, who had two kicks charged down in the second half of Australia’s defeat to New Zealand in Sydney last Saturday, admitted that his boot was an issue of concern that he had worked on this week.
“Yeah. I do need to step up a lot and feel that in the last two Tests I have not kicked as well as I would have liked,” he said.
The Wallabies are without injured lock Nathan Sharpe and Barnes, but robust flank Rocky Elsom overcame an ankle injury and has been cleared to start in the No 6 jumper.
The only significant change to the Springbok team was Ruan Pienaar coming in at fullback for Francois Steyn in a selection that Coach Peter de Villiers described as six of one and half a dozen of another.
Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will play his 50th Test on an occasion where South Africa finds they are favourites to beat the Wallabies on home soil.
“I am happy to get here and of course winning the Tri-Nations is important to us, as we’ve only won it twice. But we are still along way from winning it again, what is required is to know that while we may lose some games, we need to believe we will win more than we lose,” he said.
“Everybody likes winning rugby and Test rugby is not about just passing the ball to wings. Very few wings score tries in Test rugby running around their opposite numbers.
“I believe what we need to play is total rugby. In the post ELVs the game slowed down a bit and defences became tighter, with teams having time to align defences a little more.
“We didn’t make the rules and initially, at the Bulls, we struggled. But this year we got on top of them,” said Fourie.
Deans, however, said he would call a meeting with referee Bryce Lawrence in an effort to nullify South Africa’s kick, charge and bash tactics that have established South Africa as the No 1 ranked team in the world.
The Australian coach acknowledged that they were concerned about South Africa’s chasers, notably Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen, encroaching over the offside line before pursuing and smashing opponents under mortar bombs launched from the boot of Du Preez and Morne Steyn.
The Australians also want to try and convince Lawrence not to penalise players for obstruction when they surround the catcher, as they were at Newlands two weeks ago and again in Sydney last weekend.
“What we are really concerned about is what he [Lawrence] thinks,” said Deans.Tweet