Australia captain Stephen Moore is expecting a hostile atmosphere at Loftus Versfeld for their Rugby Championship clash with South Africa on Saturday.
Moore knows a Springbok team with their backs against the wall is a dangerous team and said playing at Loftus would aid the home side. After a tough start to the season Australia are looking to build on their 36-20 win over Argentina a fortnight ago while South Africa are under pressure following their inept performance in going down 41-13 to New Zealand.
“They would have come under some heat in the last few weeks with their recent results and they’re going to want to play well,” Moore told the Canberra Times.
“They’re one of those teams that you know are always going to play well at home. They’ve got very passionate home support there and particularly at Loftus. It’s a strong rugby tradition there and very hostile environment there. To play, whether it’s Super Rugby against the Bulls or in a Test match, we’d expect them to play very well.
“I know we’ve had a couple of wins but that certainly doesn’t change anything from our perspective … we want to go over and give a good account of ourselves.”
Moore has won three matches from 10 attempts in South Africa. Two victories have come in Durban (2008 and 2011) but the most memorable was in Bloemfontein in six years ago when Kurtley Beale nailed a penalty goal with the last kick of the match from 55 metres out to give the Wallabies a famous 41-39 victory, their first at altitude for 47 years.
“That’s always a special place for me to play and I think over the years anytime you win a Test in South Africa it’s special. You’re always up against it. It’s a great place to play rugby but as a visiting side you certainly feel that hostility and there’s no doubt it will be like that at Loftus on Saturday. We will really enjoy this opportunity.”
Australia face the prospect of playing their next eight Tests all away from home as they travel to London to face Argentina in the final round of the Rugby Championship. Their end-of-year tour includes Tests against Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and England.
Moore said time on the road would be good for the group, as was the case at last year’s World Cup.
“You spend a lot of time together in hotels and doing things together, going for meals. We’ve benefited a lot from that in the last 12 months,” Moore said. “When you’re in Australia you try and create the same environment but it’s not always the same because guys have other things on and it’s nice to get away when everyone’s in the same boat.”