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Gregan up for Bok ‘mind games’

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George Gregan, the world’s most capped player, says he knows how to negate the Springboks’ positive frame of mind, when the two sides go head-to-head in the Tri-Nations opener at Newlands on Saturday.

Gregan is one of only three of the current Wallabies who have beaten the Boks on their home turf – when Stirling Mortlock (also in the current squad) slotted a touchline conversion to give Australia a 19-18 victory on 26 August 2000.

In fact since South Africa’s return from isolation the Wallabies have managed just two wins from 14 starts in South Africa – the only other win being the Springboks’ first match back, a then record 26-3 victory at Newlands in August 1992.

The only other player to have tasted victory on SA soil is veteran fly-half Stephen Larkham – who along with Gregan and Mortlock played in Durban in 2000.

Gregan, despite the obvious odds stacked against his team, and facing what he termed “the most confident and balanced Springbok side I have seen going into a Tri-Nations” remains adamant the Boks can be beaten.

“That is on the back of two of the teams playing in the Super 14 final, and they will be buoyed by that,” Gregan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“They are going into the series with a lot of confidence, especially as they did a very good number on the England team. So we’ve got them at the top of their game. But beating them is not impossible.”

Gregan said Australia’s greatest hurdle would be overcoming South Africa’s positive frame of mind.

“It is the South African psychology you see in all their sports,” Gregan said. “You see it in their cricket, their rugby. When they’re up, they are very confident, and they take that into every competition. The way you negate that is by being prepared for the challenge, and being prepared to take them on. ”
 
365 Digital

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