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Boks wary of Cooper, horror Aus record

Sun, 12/09/2021, 3:00 am
AAP & Staff Writer
by AAP & Staff Writer
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper has spoken ahead of tomorrow night's Springboks clash.

Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi have got South Africa thinking as the unlikely Wallabies pair attempt to arrest Australia's slide in Sunday's Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast.

Cooper is the bold selection after four years in the Test wilderness, the playmaker's return creating some buzz around a side soundly beaten in their three previous Tests against New Zealand.

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With Kerevi, himself back in the fray after a two-year absence, in the centres the Springboks know Dave Rennie's side will look to win the game with ball in hand at Cbus Super Stadium.

"On a good day they will punish any team when you've got guys like Kerevi and Quade who's very experienced, and guys like (Marika) Koroibete, with time and space they'll punish you," South Africa assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said.

"Quade's a world class player; we're going to have to make sure we don't give him time and space to make decisions."

It will be their first meeting since South Africa won the 2019 World Cup, the Springboks beating the British and Irish Lions (2-1) and Argentina (2-0) before arriving in Australia.

They'll need that confidence to offset a horror record on Australian soil though, unbeaten at home since 2011 but with just four wins and two draws from their last 29 Tests in the country dating back to 1993.

It's a record captain Siya Kolisi can't explain, other to offer that "they've got a great record against everyone in Australia".

They couldn't arrive with more confidence though, and have picked a full-strength squad aside from winger Cheslin Kolbe (leg).

Halfback Faf de Klerk is back from injury, so too is No.8 Duane Vermeulen in his first game since the World Cup win.


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It sets up a blockbuster match-up between the scrumhalves, with De Klerk excited by the prospect of taking him on.

"McDermott is a great exciting young player, really flirting around the rucks," he said during the week.

"He's a good player to watch and that's sort of the No.9 Australia wants now, one that's really threatening and with Nic White backing him up, creates massive challenges."

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