BLOEMFONTEIN (Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika has warned his side to be careful of a possible backlash from South Africa in Saturday’s Rugby Championship test at the Free State Stadium.
South Africa will be determined to put in a good performance following their 57-0 defeat to New Zealand in Auckland two weeks ago and Cheika said it was crucial that the Wallabies stuck to the game plan.
“Obviously everyone knows they’re going to come back strong and hard after that game,” he added.
“Retribution will be in the air, no doubt, and we just happen to be the next team in line. We’re going to have to prepare to work really, really hard for each other.”
Australia have already lost twice to the All Blacks in the tournament this year but proved much more competitive against the world champions than the Springboks.
Cheika, however, did not believe that the record defeat had left the South Africans fragile.
”I don’t think South Africa have had many issues. They had a bit of a hiccup last week but everyone was singing their praises before that.
”I’ve seen the footage, they’ve been going pretty good and I know how that New Zealand game can go against you. I’ve seen them in fine form this year.
“We’re very aware that it’s a totally new challenge and I think hard work for us is going to be the key,” he told reporters.
”We know it’s going to be a huge game. We want to do better in the conquest parts of the game; set-piece, scrum, lineout and just being more consistent. We don’t have to rewrite the strategy book every week.”
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Peter Rutherford