Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is to the Wallabies what Ellis Park is to the Springboks. It will take the world champion Springboks to be at their best to break the Brisbane bogie and beat the Wallabies, writes Mark Keohane.
I’ve seen some pretty average Springbok teams beat some mighty All Blacks and Wallabies teams at Ellis Park.
I’ve also seen some average Wallabies teams turn over some mighty All Blacks and Springboks teams at the SunCorp Stadium in Brisbane.
This is the ground where the Wallabies feel most at home. Everything about the playing surface suits the Wallabies style of play. It is one of the fastest playing surfaces on the global circuit and the stadium structure ensures crowd engagement because the supporters are so close to the action.
Suncorp is a modern version of Newlands when it comes to how close the crowd sits to the field.
Visiting players are intimidated and Australian players get a lift.
I’ve been fortunate to be at Suncorp Stadium many times in my rugby-writing career, both to report on Tests against Australia and Super Rugby matches against the Queensland Reds. It is a spectacular venue, a special place to watch a game and the Brisbane crowd adds to the home town feel of the occasion.
Teams struggle to win at the SunCorp Stadium and Heyneke Meyer’s Springboks are the last Bok team to have won there when the Boks sizzled in a 38-12 victory in 2013. Since then it has been heartbreak for the Boks and even for the All Blacks.
The men in black have lost the last two Tests in Brisbane and the one before that they needed an 80th minute penalty from Colin Slade to win 29-28.
Rassie Erasmus’s Springboks lost 23-18 in 2018 and a week later beat the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington, New Zealand.
John Smit’s all-conquering Lion tamers and 3-0 series winners against the All Blacks in 2009 (two Tests in South Africa and one in New Zealand) lost 21-6 to the Wallabies at the Suncorp Stadium. A week later they would beat the All Blacks 32-29 in Hamilton, New Zealand and win the Tri Nations.
The Boks, in the 28-26 Rugby Championship defeat against the Wallabies a week ago, did not respect the occasion or the opposition. Neither did I. I called the Wallabies wimps and chumps based on their three successive Tests capitulation to the All Blacks. I took my beating for it on social media and the Boks took their beating on the field in losing a Test in which they gave Quade Cooper seven penalties to convert into 21 points and spent 20 minutes of the Test playing with 14 because of yellow cards to Siya Kolisi and Willie le Roux. The Boks also missed 10 points through two missed penalties and two missed conversions.
For the Boks to win on Saturday, they have to be in the zone mentally, respect the occasion, play to their potential and know that the Wallabies always find something extra when playing at Suncorp Stadium.
The Wallabies, in the past decade have lost just four times in 18 Tests, with the All Blacks, Springboks, England and British & Irish Lions victorious in those four Tests. Equally, the Boks and All Blacks have been knocked over a few times each since 2010.
Have a listen and have a watch because despite the historical struggles at SunCorp Stadium, the consensus is Siya’s Boks will shine.
There are also great prizes to be won, including 2019 RWC Springbok jerseys, a year’s subscription to SA Rugby Magazine, a copy of The First Lady of Springbok Rugby and also a copy of The Chosen 23. Watch the video below to find out how!
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