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Springboks seek more clinical edge against wounded Wallabies

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By Reuters
Springboks seek more clinical edge against wounded Wallabies
Rugby Union - Rugby Championship - Argentina's Pumas v South Africa's Springboks - Malvinas Argentinas stadium, Mendoza, Argentina - August 25, 2018. South Africa's Faf de Klerk (C) and teammates react at the end of the match. REUTERS/Marcelo Ruiz   -   Copyright  STRINGER(Reuters)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – South Africa will look to match their physicality with improved execution against Australia in their Rugby Championship test on Saturday as they look to rebound from defeat to Argentina.

Rassie Erasmus’s Springboks came back hard in the second half of their 32-19 loss in Mendoza but were let down repeatedly by poor finishing and handling errors.

The defeat brought the South Africans back to earth after an encouraging opening win against the South Americans in Durban.

“We felt we played really well in Durban and let ourselves down in Argentina with our execution, so we are looking for the same consistency and to play with the same level of physicality like in Durban,” assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said in Brisbane in the leadup to the Wallabies match at Lang Park.

“Our execution, whether at breakdown or from set piece, our continuity was not as good as it had been in Durban, so it needs to improve across the board.”

The Springboks meet a Wallabies side also seeking to rebound after back-to-back drubbings by champions New Zealand.

While they have not been able to lay a glove on the All Blacks, the Wallabies have proved a handful for visiting South African teams, whose last win on Australian soil was in 2013 at Lang Park.

“We know the Argentines were more in our face than they were in Durban and we must expect the same (here). The Australians are looking to bounce back, so we are really expecting them to be in our face,” said Proudfoot.

Former Junior Springbok fullback Cheslin Kolbe was a late addition to the squad on Monday and the uncapped 24-year-old, who plays for Toulouse in the French Top 14‚ could be handed a test debut on the wing in the absence of the injured Sbu Nkosi.

“I think he deserves his inclusion. He’s really performed well,” Proudfoot said of the utility back, who crossed to France from Super Rugby’s Cape Town-based Stormers.

“He’s an exciting player, can create out of nothing, so we’re looking for that.

“We’re looking for a little bit of extra zip. He’s just a real solid guy. I’ve worked with him at the Stormers and it’s good to have him out.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)