Wallabies must be up for the fight: Byrne

The Wallabies must be up for the fight against an angry Springboks side who are tipped to take their trademark physicality to another level in Bloemfontein, assistant coach Mick Byrne has warned.


South Africa were towelled 57-0 by New Zealand two weeks ago – the country’s worst Test loss, and one that has piled huge pressure on coach Allister Coetzee and his underperforming players.

Byrne expects the Springboks will channel their shame through brute force in the contact zone when they meet the Wallabies on Sunday morning (AEST) at Toyota Stadium.

“It is a non-negotiable to beat anyone, really. But South Africa bring a physicality. They pride themselves on that. They’re a nation of it,” he said.

“There’s going to be – I would imagine – a little bit more given the week they’ve had.

“That’s going to be a challenge for our boys to step up and meet them in that regard.

“(That means) getting your low body height, getting underneath players, leg drive, all those things that represent physicality and getting to the contest first.”

Local media have spent the last fortnight poring over the wreckage of the All Blacks defeat and are yet to turn their full attention to the challenges presented by the Wallabies.

Springboks sports psychologist Pieter Kruger expressed his frustration that they haven’t engaged his services despite a result that would have mentally rattled the entire team.

“Although I would have liked to have a full-time job, the Springboks currently only use me on an ad hoc basis… (which) is obviously very challenging when you are a performance psychologist,” Kruger told the City Press newspaper.

“I will unfortunately not see them before the next game but I have shared my thoughts with Allister.

“It will be massively important not to reinvent the wheel or go into panic mode.”