The Springboks refuse to acknowledge lineouts as an area of weakness for the Wallabies, but lock Lood de Jager warns they’ve done their homework ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash.
Australia’s set piece issues have come under the spotlight after New Zealand managed to consistently steal their lineout ball in the twin Bledisloe Cup defeats.
It has left the Wallabies with a winning record of just 69 per cent from their own throws after two rounds of the Rugby Championship, compared to Argentina (91.67), South Africa (91.3) and the All Blacks, who haven’t missed once.
A repeat performance will play right into the hands of de Jager and his towering second-row partner Eten Etzebeth, one of world rugby’s most effective lock partnerships.
“I wouldn’t say (I’m) licking my lips, but looking forward to the game,” said de Jager, who leads the tournament so far with 14 lineout catches.
“They’re under pressure and the media’s made a big thing about it so in the week they would have probably rectified it and come up with new plans.
“We’ll see on Saturday what they come with.”
De Jager refused to buy into the doom and gloom surrounding the Australian lineout, attributing their issues to New Zealand’s successful tactics.
“The All Blacks are a very good man-watching side in lineouts. If you have an off day, they can punish you for it,” he said.
“In the series against England, Australia won lineout ball pretty easily.
“It’s not a big concern for them but we’ve done our homework as well and hopefully we can put them under pressure at lineout time.”
Springboks assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said it was only “small margins” letting the Wallabies down, describing the under-fire Stephen Moore as one of world rugby’s best lineout throwers.
“I don’t think there’s an issue. I think it’s just they need to find their rhythm,” he said.