History and wounded Boks on Cheika's radar

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies are wary of a Springboks side stinging from a 57-0 thumping at the hands of the All Blacks.

It’s a position Michael Cheika’s side can relate to, having been on the receiving end of a few New Zealand performances of a similar standard.

When the All Blacks get hot, as they did while dealing South Africa their worst ever loss, they stay hot.

“I’ve been in that situation, especially at half time,” he said.

“Sometimes you don't even struggle, the other mob are just bloody good and they take their opportunities - it’s just the way it is.”

While the Springboks will be ready to bounce back, Cheika expects a largely similar starting XV to run out for the home side next Sunday (AEST) when the Wallabies travel to Bloemfontein.

I think they'll stay solid, I can't see them making a lot of changes,” he said.

“They’ve had a good run until last weekend so I can't they'd be making changes too swiftly.

“There's a different dynamic when teams play.

“How they played against New Zealand will probably be different to how they play against us.”
South Africa has been far from a happy hunting ground for the Wallabies, with their last win coming, coincidentally, the last time they played in Bloemfontein, in 2010.

That was the scene of Kurtley Beale’s match winning penalty after the siren.

Happy memories flow when one casts their mind back to that performance but ever since, it’s been a string of sub par results.

“Last year we started the game really well in Pretoria,” Cheika said.

“We were leading and I don't know why we fell off.

“Concentration, focus, maybe believe that you can be in front, it's not bad to be in front down there.

“I don't know, I just think it might be in our head.

“You've just got to go there and do you best.

“For us it's just about this group of players getting a bit smarter, playing a bit more consistently then we'll see where we land.
Cheika has spoken about the “stepping stones” this Wallabies outfit must conquer and a win against the Boks in South Africa would be a huge boost for a team that has improved without getting over the all important hump - a win against the All Blacks.

“It's been a while since we've won there and to be honest we haven't accumulated a whole lot of wins over there full stop and if we want to take stepping stones to be a better team, we've got to be able to be mentally strong enough.

“The teams are pretty even, we had a draw (in Perth).

“We’ve got to be better on the day itself.”

The Wallabies take on the Springboks on Sunday morning October 1 from 1:05 AM (AEST) LIVE on FOX SPORTS