Springboks hope to improve on their dismal record against the Wallabies in Australia

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The Springboks continue to battle injuries in the backline as they made two changes to their starting fifteen to face Australia in a Rugby Championship match in Adelaide on Saturday.

Coming off a loss against the All Blacks two weeks ago, the Boks are preparing for Australia with another new player at right wing, Warrick Gelant and a 5-3 spilt on the bench, adding extra cover amongst the backs.

It’s been nine years since the Boks beat the Wallabies in Australia, a hostile terrain where wins don’t come easy for the Green and Gold.

The Springboks welcome back Faf de Klerk, who suffered a nasty concussion against the All Blacks in Mbombela in the first round of the Rugby Championship.

That’s one problem solved, however, another in the backline is what’s going on at the right wing. Warrick Gelant gets a start, and while the prospect of him playing alongside Damian Willemse in the back three is very enticing, the Boks admit that this is not a scenario they would have been planning for.

“…the bad luck we had at 14 or right wing this season if you think about it we lost Cheslin, Sbu is still injured Kurt Lee got a red card, then we opted to go with Jesse, he got concussed so I think it is impossible to plan for so many injuries in one position. It is not our fifth choice it is the fifth level deep that we play Warrick,” says Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber.

With New Zealand out of the way, the Boks can now focus on their awful win record against the Wallabies in Australia. Since 1996 the Boks haven’t won much, and for the incumbent coach, the current status quo is even more damning.

“It’s not that we have an eye on New Zealand and then we take a lesser stance against Australia, I just think Australia in Australia is tough and I can’t talk about 96 and before that, all I know is that we as a group since we have been together since 2018 we have played Australia three times in Australia and we lost all three, so it is a tough game we are actually zero percent our group,” Nienaber adds.

Ultimately the Springboks are using every match at their disposal towards a greater end, that being the Rugby World Cup, and the defence of their title. It means the Springboks come in for a fair bit of flak regarding how they prepare for matches, but with so few games between now and the 2023 tournament, it’s important the Springboks use their time wisely.

Nienaber explains, “But I would lie and be dishonest if I say listen there isn’t, let’s call it half an eye on the world cup last year our big challenge was the British and Irish Lions and we wanted to perform there because it is such a rare competition this year. we can be a little bit creative with team selection and building squad depth and giving guys opportunity but I don’t want to say that and people think we devalue the Springboks, we don’t. Our first aim is to get a proper performance going against Australia on Saturday which is a tough gig here in Australia.”

As it stands all the teams in the Rugby Championship have a win and a loss to their name. These next two rounds should put some daylight between the Championship contenders, and the also-rans.

The Springboks have two matches against Australia in Australia to stake their claim on the title.