Boks can't afford to underestimate the Wallabies
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks cannot afford to underestimate the winless Wallabies ahead of their Rugby Championship match on Sunday.
On the back of a 2-1 series win over British and Irish Lions and back-to-back Rugby Championship victories over Argentina, the Springboks head into Sunday’s Test as clear favourites.
The Boks’ fine form means that they have a chance to finally end their losing record on Australian soil.
The last time the Springboks secured a win down under was in 2013.
For the Wallabies, Sunday’s fixture could be an opportunity to end their Rugby Champs duck after back-to-back losses to New Zealand.
Dave Rennie’s troops find themselves at the bottom of the Rugby Championship table.
However, while Sunday’s fixture has been regarded as a side note to the Springboks’ 100th Test against the All Blacks later this month, centre Am believes Australia should not be underestimated on Sunday.
“Australia have a balanced side with some experienced players and a couple of new guys in the group,” Am said during the online media briefing.
“But it means nothing because one must never underestimate your opponent or use that against them.
“Australia have been playing good rugby and it’s just unfortunate that they haven’t been getting the results, so from our side we are preparing as well as possible to come out on top this weekend.”
Commenting on the team’s progress, the hard-running centre, who has scored four tries in his 19 Tests, said: “Ever since we started our conditioning camp in Bloemfontein [in June] we’ve looked forward to playing for the country, so it has been good to playing Test matches again.
“My role in the team is to bring my best at all times, and I think as a side we have managed to build on where we left off in the World Cup. We are in good spirits and that gives opportunities for every individual to showcase their performances.”
New midfield sensation
Am and Damian De Allende have become a formidable unit in the Springboks’ midfield in the last few seasons and their midfield partnership has played a key role in the team’s recent successes, which includes winning the World Cup in 2019 and the Lions Series earlier this year.
The outside centre, who will earn his 20th Test cap this weekend, said there is still work to be done and he is determined to keep growing in his role and improving in his partnership with De Allende.
Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie’s 29 Tests together in the midfield is the most for South Africa, but Am and De Allende will move into the third spot when they start next to each other for the 16th time this weekend, with De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert (18 Tests as a centre combination) still in front of them.
“We have been blessed to have great players in South Africa, specifically among the centres and backline players,” Am said.
“In our generation, we are taking over that responsibility and I think we are doing a fairly good job, although we definitely strive to do better and do well at all times.
“I’ve been playing with Damian for just over two years, and we’ve gotten to learn and feed off each other.
“One of the key things for us is to try to give our best for the team, and this approach has been working well because we are aligned as a side and know what we are good at and what we need to work on, which has really kept us on our toes.”