Rugby Championship Preview: South Africa Vs Australia

Australia will be looking to break a 22-year hoodoo when they meet South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.  The Wallabies wallopped the Springboks 26-3 in the driving rain in 1992 in the Mother City in what was the Boks’ second Test back after isolation.  Two decades on, things have turned in favour of the South Africans.  The Australians have lost their last six games against South Africa at Newlands and Heyneke Meyer’s men have scored 16 tries in their last five home games against Australia but have actually lost two of the quintet of encounters which will encourage the Aussies.

Bryan Habana will become the 12th player to start 100 Test  matches and just the second South African to achieve the feat.  Meyer’s men will have to keep an eye on Israel Folau, who has made more carries (48) and beaten more defenders (17) than any other player in this year’s edition of the Rugby Championship.  The visitors will have to watch Eben Etzebeth come lineout time.  Etzebeth has notched up more lineout steals (5) than any other player in this year’s tournament.  The Springboks have won 89% of their lineouts in the 2014 event while the Aussies have won just 77%  Ewen McKenzie’s side also have the worst scrum success rate (76%).

South Africa have had less possession (13m 6s per game) than any other side this season, choosing to kick the ball from hand more often than any other side (33 times per game), conversely Australia have had the most possession and kicked the ball  away the least often (15).