Palmerbet Sports Team preview the Wallabies’ chances of getting off the mark in the 2018 Rugby Championship when they host the Springboks on Saturday night.
20:05 (AEST), Sat 8th Sep @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
History: Played 86: South Africa 47 V Australia 36 (3 Draws).
Last meeting: September 30, 2017: 27-all draw at Free State Stadium.
Final Thoughts: After a pair of demoralising results against the All Blacks, the Wallabies square off against a Springboks side that is ebbing even lower.
Australia competed strongly against New Zealand in the opening half of each game, but were overrun by the world champs’ attacking brilliance as they went down 38-13 in Sydney and 40-12 in Auckland.
South Africa accounted for Argentina 34-21 in Durban in the opening round of the Rugby Championship, but were stunned 32-19 by the Pumas in the return clash in Mendoza after the hosts skipped to a 25-point lead soon after halftime.
But teams have made significant changes for this showdown. Michael Cheika has surprisingly axed Bernard Foley, with Kurtley Beale moving into the No.10 jumper and Matt Toomua slotting into the midfield. Giant lock Rory Arnold has been promoted to the starting line-up at Izack Rodda’s expense, while Israel Folau returns from injury.
The Boks have made six changes, the most significant of which is recalling Elton Jantijies at flyhalf. Bongi Mbonambi comes in at hooker, joined as a new face in the pack by prop Steve Kitshoff and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Australia have won eight Tests to South Africa’s five in their last 15 meetings, with two drawn. The Wallabies have won 11 of the last 13 against the Springboks on home soil, including narrow victories at Suncorp Stadium in 2015-16; they boast an outstanding 11-3 all-time record in Brisbane in matches between the nations.
Last year the rivals could not be split, drawing clashes in Perth and Bloemfontein. The last five encounters were decided by eight points or less – after four of the previous five were decided by 18-plus.
Another close encounter looms, but the Wallabies’ home advantage and marginally superior form to date in this campaign should be the telling factors.