Thursday 22 February 2018

Elsom expects stiffer test

Australia will focus on their own performance and not worry about what a revamped South Africa will throw at them in their Tri-Nations test in Durban today, skipper Rocky Elsom said yesterday.

South Africa have endured a miserable Tri-Nations campaign so far. The Springboks, missing more than 20 players because of injury, lost 39-20 to Australia in Sydney and 40-7 to the All Blacks in Wellington.

However, with a host of players now returning to the fray, the South Africa team to play Australia shows 13 changes from the team that started against the All Blacks.

Elsom (28) believes that, while the Springboks will pose more of a challenge than they did in Sydney, it is vital for the Wallabies to concentrate on their own game.

"We have obviously got our game that we want to play and they will have theirs," Elsom said.

"Getting our bit right is the most important thing."

Australia have just two matches left before they begin their rugby World Cup campaign in September, but Elsom said his team were focused only on the Tri-Nations.

"World Cup aside, tomorrow's result is pretty critical for us. We have expectations on ourselves, particularly when we come here, and we would like to see them fulfilled," he said.

During their win in Sydney, Australia dominated the breakdown point, but Elsom said that he expects a far stiffer contest in that area with the Springboks having called up the powerful No 8 Pierre Spies and the specialist open-side flanker Heinrich Brussow.

"They are going to be a bit stronger at the breakdown than they were in Sydney," he said. "We will both be going pretty hard at it."

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Irish Independent

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