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Mortlock searches winning formula for SA

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Australia has only managed to record two victories in South Africa since 1992, recording the first in that year, and the second in 2000, in an 18-19 cliff-hanger that saw Stirling Mortlock steal victory in the last minute, and win the Tri-Nations for his country.

Stirling Mortlock, now the co-skipper of the Wallabies is searching for that South African winning formula once again.

Even after Australia thumped South Africa 49-nil in Australia last year, the Australians still went down a month and a half later by 16-24 in Johannesburg.

Mortlock is at a loss to explain why his country has not won more of the clashes with the Springboks on their home turf.

“If we knew the reasons we would have won more,” Mortlock said in Cape Town ahead of their Newlands fixture with South Africa.

“Saturday is going to be a massive challenge for us. The Springboks always manage to lift themselves when they play at home, and when they start well, they are difficult to stop.

“You can have the perfect preparation, and you must have that, but it comes down to performing on the day.”

And Mortlock believes that this year the Springboks are going to be harder than ever to bring down.

“They have a lot more strength this year. The South Africans have always had a dominant forward pack but they have added to that backs who can play expansive football.

“Those backs are currently playing excellent defensive rugby.

“There has clearly been a lot of hard work at the top, and the Springboks are enjoying the successes of the Super 14.”

Mortlock said that while the injured Bryan Habana would be missed by the Springboks as “a world-class finisher”, South Africa had an abundance of depth which ensured they did not lose anything with a couple of injuries.

The Wallaby described the desire to win on Saturday as a “significant goal” for his side, especially in a World Cup year.

“We want to do something that we have not been able to do for some time.

“Our goal this year has been to improve every week, and I believe we have done that so far, but we want to keep doing that until the World Cup.”

By Chris Waldburger 365 Digital

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