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The chance of the Wallabies breaking a 56-year drought in Johannesburg have increased significantly after Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed that most of his best players would sit out the first round of the Rugby Championship so they could travel to New Zealand early for a clash against the All Blacks.
It would be off the mark to suggest Erasmus and the Springboks are being arrogant or underestimating the Wallabies ahead of their match next Sunday (NZ time). All international teams are meticulously planning player workloads with the greater goal in mind of winning the World Cup.
Clearly, it is higher on South Africa’s bucket list to beat New Zealand when the sides meet on July 27 in Wellington. Tick that off and there will be no shortage of confidence amongst a team fifth on the world rankings.
But, by the same token, if the Springboks can knock off the Wallabies with a half-strength team, that may be just as good for morale.
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“I know Australia will come here and pick their first-choice team against us,” Erasmus said. “I wouldn’t say that is a catch-22 for us, but if they pick their strongest team and we have 15 guys in New Zealand, and we manage to beat them even though we have mixed up t
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