Wallabies ready to 'take it to Bok pack'
Australia are gearing up for another brutal contest with South Africa, with set pieces one of the key aspects of their Rugby Championship showdown in Adelaide on Saturday.
With the competition delicately balanced – each team has a win and a loss after two rounds – the Wallabies are determined to protect their impressive home run against a Springbok team that has not won Down Under since 2013.
Prop Allan Alaalatoa, who has returned to the squad after missing the embarrassing 17-48 Round Two loss to Argentina for personal reasons, said there had been “an edge” to Australia’s training this week.
“The boys have been pretty gutted after that last game,” he said of the San Juan rout.
“There were some tough conversations in review and it’s all for us to get better this weekend.
“We had a sour taste in our mouth.”
Alaalatoa said the set piece battle remained a focal point of the Springboks’ plan.
“South Africa is a team that pride themselves on their set piece [play],” the prop told a virtual media briefing.
“All the games that I’ve been part of [against South Africa], we always mention it in the forward pack that we need to take it to them.
“It [Bok set piece] is a threat, because they have a world-class pack.
“They pride themselves on that and it is something they’ll try and go to a lot on Saturday.”
He also spoke of the need for the Wallaby bench to match up to the Boks’ famed ‘Bomb squad’.
“The guys [coming] off the bench have a job to do and that is to make an impact.”
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* Meanwhile a confident Andrew Kellaway admits he’ll be envious of the punters drinking beers on the Adelaide Oval hill on Saturday but says he’s ready to put on a show for them.
The Wallabies back injured his hamstring seven weeks ago, costing him a start in the hotly-contested No.15 jersey in the recent series against England.
Jordan Petaia – filling the role of injured fullback Tom Banks – lasted just minutes in the position in the second Test against England before being concussed, and has since returned on the wing with Tom Wright preferred at fullback.
Petaia and Wright had days to forget in a record 48-17 mauling from Argentina in their most recent outing, leaving the position up for grabs in the side’s Rugby Championship return to home soil.
Kellaway was coy about his positional movements, saying he’s been training at the Wallabies’ Gold Coast base as a wing and fullback, but made it clear he’s ready to roll.
“Yeah it [the timing of the injury] was a tough pill to swallow; I was looking forward to playing fullback and it doesn’t come by often in this team with the depth we have there now,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“It [rehabilitation] was a slow process, at least it felt like that for me, but I ripped into it and here we are hopefully – touch wood – no complications.
“I’m ready to go and if I get the call-up, how good.
“I’m pumped. Adelaide Oval, what a place. Would love to be on the hill having a beer. [It’s] one of the great cricket venues.”