South Africa captain Jean de Villiers says the Wallabies might be feeling some “psychological pressure” going into Saturday’s clash after dropping their last three Tests by 20 points or more to the Springboks.
After years of Mandela Challenge Plate dominance, the Wallabies have gone missing in the two sides’ last three hit-outs, going down 28-8, 38-12 and 31-8.
And the Springboks will be hoping their recent superiority over the Aussies will give them a distinct edge when they clash at Perth’s Patersons Stadium on Saturday.
“Maybe they might still feel the psychological pressure of what happened in the past,” de Villiers said.
“But we’re not banking on them holding the scars of last year. They’ve come a long way.
“We see it as a brand new challenge and a brand new game.”
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper was quick to play down the lopsided scorelines.
“It was a long time ago, teams have changed and we’ve got a completely different squad,” he said.
De Villiers added that while the Wallabies would be out to prove a point after their last-start 51-20 flogging from the All Blacks, his own side had encountered their own problems in their two narrow wins over Argentina – ranked 12th in the world.
“They’ll (Wallabies) definitely want to bounce back from that,” de Villiers said.
“But we’re not happy with where we’re at as a team. We want to perform better.
“Yes, we didn’t get a loss like they did, but we need to improve a lot.
“So they’ve got a lot to play for and improve and so do we – that makes for a great clash tomorrow night.”
They were in and they were committed right up until the point they suddenly weren’t. South Africa’s sudden and dramatic withdrawal from the Rugby Championship has resulted in yet another schedule change and with it the relaunch of an old competition name.