The Wallabies still have the opportunity of winning the side’s first Tri-Nations title in more than a decade despite their loss to the All Blacks last weekend. However, they are going to have to defeat a Springboks side that in spite being shorthanded will have the advantage of playing at Kings Park, a place where they have fared well, winning two of their previous four tests.
Date/Time: Saturday, August 13, at 7:00 A.M. EST
Venue: Kings Park in Durban
Tri Nations Rugby Betting Lines
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Money Line: NA
Spread: Australia -3.5
Australia is coming off a disappointing 30-14 defeat to the All Blacks in their last test, just one week after opening its Tri Nations campaign with a 39-20 win over South Africa in Sydney.
The Wallabies backline faltered to begin the match and the Kiwis immediately took the advantage building up a 17-0 lead heading into the half.
The Aussies battled their way back into the contest with second half tries from winger Digby Ioane and flanker Rocky Elsom but did not have enough to beat their rivals, who closed out a well deserved victory.
It was a day of missed opportunities for the Wallabies who nearly scored midway through the half, as problems were compounded by some poor place kicking from winger James O’Connor who saw three kicks fall wide of the posts.
Despite the loss, Wallaby coach Robbie Deans, will stick with most of the starting XV that saw action against New Zealand swapping Scott Higginbotham at the No. 8 position with Ben McCalman while recalling veteran lock Nathan Sharpe to the second row for what will be his 96th test.
Meanwhile, South Africa look to end a poor recent run of results against their Tri-Nations rivals, dropping four of its last five meetings, including a 39-20 thumping in the first round of the Tri-Nations just three weeks ago.
Now, with their backs against the wall, Springboks’ coach Peter de Villiers has recalled virtually all of his World Cup big guns for this weekend’s test including scrum-half Fourie du Preez. Du Preez has not played an international since November 2009, having missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. It will be interesting to see how he fares coming back in such a huge match.
The last game between the two sides in August 2008 finished in a 27-15 win for the Australians. However, the Springboks hold the all-time advantage over the Wallabies with 41 test victories to 30 since their first meeting in Sydney back in 1921. South Africa last won at Kings Park back in 2004 edging their opponents 23-19.
Australia will enter the game fueled by their tournament opening win over the South Africans and the desire to bounce back after falling to the All Blacks.
They will look to apply the same strategy that was completely dismantled by New Zealand but could pay off against a much weaker South African side. They will need to keep the ball wide and stay away from wrestling a hulking Springbok front eight.
As for the Springboks, they will need to take advantage of fresh legs and the home crowd while employing a consistent attack.
In their last 20 matches away from home Australia have scored both the first points of the match, and the first try of the match, but if the Springboks can get ahead early on, they can use their solid defense to clamp down on the Wallabies forcing them out of their comfort zone.