Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am who will make his first Test appearance against Australia in the Rugby Championship this weekend has warned against underestimating their opponents.
The Wallabies have suffered two defeats to New Zealand so far and are at the bottom of the log. Am has been hailed for his strong centre partnership with Damien de Allende and he will be a key figure in the Boks’ mission to register a first win in Australia since 2013.
The Boks last won in Australia eight years ago. They are faced with the task of ending the long-standing hoodoo against a young side that has not started off well in this year’s Rugby Championship. It includes a record 57-22 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks last month. Am who will make his first Test appearance against the Wallabies, said not too much should be read into those results. Instead, he praised their opponents for the good brand of rugby they have played, despite the results.
“I think they have a fairly balanced side, there are guys with experience there are a couple of new guys in the group but it means nothing in a way you can never underestimate your opponents or use that against them. They are a side playing good rugby,” says Am.
Since making his Boks debut in 2018, Am has been instrumental in the success of the team. Currently, his centre pairing with Damian de Allende is one of the best in the world. They will be an integral part of the strategy to destabilise the Wallabies. In the last couple of matches against the British and Irish Lions Tour and Argentina, they played with skill and confidence.
“I have played with doogz now for just over two years and over the years in the Tests, we’ve played together I have gained experience and we’ve learnt and fed off each other, that’s one of the key things, we tried to give the best we can to the team and it’s working well, ” Am explains.
The Boks are back in Australia for the first time since 2018 with the core of the players that lost that match still in the squad. But with the success that followed for the Boks since then, it will be important for them to continue being relentless and continue this golden era.
“We prepared at our best for the coming game that’s what the coach will be thinking off and all the players that will be the mindset,” says Eben Etzebeth.
While the stakes will be high for the Boks this weekend, to win the Test, there is also pride at stake, something that has been instilled in the team in recent years.