We certainly didn’t see Australia running out victors against the world number one side South Africa last weekend.
It was a master class from the returning Quade Cooper that proved to be the difference, and in the process ended their losing run.
The Springboks struggled with their playmaker Handre Pollard being off the pace and we’d expect someone of his ability to bounce back strongly this weekend.
The most worrying part of their performance was that they had a fully fit starting team other than Cheslin Kolbe being replaced by Sbu Nkosi on the wing, and Jacques Nienaber has put their defeat down to ill-discipline.
Losing Run Ended
That win for the Aussies ends a run of three defeats in the space of a month against New Zealand, but they’ll know their opponents are going to come back even stronger in this rematch.
They’ll take positives from finally sorting out their fly-half option for the short term, while in the midfield, Samu Kerevi looked back to his best and Michael Hooper continues to impress.
There are certainly multiple areas they can still improve on through and if they aren’t at their very best against this Boks outfit who will be out for revenge, they could be in for a surprise.
Either Team To Win By Less Than Six Points
That defeat in the Gold Coast only adds to what has been an abysmal record in Australia for the visitors though.
They’ve lost 14 of their 18 matches on these shores since 2004, and you have to feel like this one is going down to the wire again.
The last defeat came after the final hooter and with three of their last four matches against elite opposition (Australia and the British and Irish Lions) seeing fewer than six points separate the sides, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a repeat of that.
Nienaber will be without lock Janse van Rensburg, but with all of Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert in their ranks still, it’s hardly going to be too big a loss.
They’ll need to put that result at the weekend behind them and start to build into this competition, with New Zealand fixtures coming up on the horizon.
For Dave Rennies’ men, it only gets easier as they face a doubleheader against Argentina after this next round of fixtures.
Another win over the World Cup winners would put them in a very favourable position, as should the South Africans manage to overturn the Kiwis, they could be in with a chance of lifting the Rugby Championship title.
EITHER TEAM TO WIN BY LESS THAN SIX POINTS