Australia go for altitude

Australia will attempt to negate the altitude factor in their bid to secure their first victory in South Africa in six years by staying in Johannesburg in the run-up to this weekend's Tri Nations game. [more]

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Australia will attempt to negate the altitude factor in their bid to secure their first victory in South Africa in six years by staying in Johannesburg in the run-up to this weekend’s Tri Nations game.

The Wallabies’ new approach is a far cry from their previous encounters in the city, when they have chosen to stay on the coast and fly up on the day of the match.

Australia coach John Connolly believes this decision can only be of benefit to his players but insists South Africa remain the favourites going into the encounter.

"We are used to it (the altitude) but history shows that it is an advantage for the home team playing here. But it’s something we haven’t spoken about or thought about," Connolly said.

"It’s been a while since Australia have won here because South Africa have played so well and there are certain advantages for the South Africa team playing at altitude as you see all the three Tests this year are all at altitude."

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On his own side’s performances this season, Connolly added: "We have made pretty good advances this year. A win in this game will be very good for us.

"Yes, we are happy with the progress up to date but sport is all about winning, so this is an important game for us.

"It hasn’t been great. We lost the three games to New Zealand – two of those we could have gotten away with – and a couple of wins over England, Ireland and South Africa, which we are happy to take."

Connolly was impressed with the Springboks’ 21-20 win over New Zealand on Saturday, a result which ended both South Africa’s five-match losing streak and the All Blacks’ 15-game winning run.

"They are pretty solid. They have tightened up their game considerably from the week before and they would be happy with their performance," he said.

"They have gone through a lot of pain over the last couple of months and I don’t think they feel much pain after that game.

"They’ll be in a pretty confident state on Saturday. It takes time to get back into it but three weeks on the trot for the Springboks isn’t easier.

"They have no injuries from it – that is a plus for them – but we have trained well over the last week or two.

"We have a few aches and pains but we are okay.

"The Springboks traditionally have powerful forwards, who take the wind out of opposition forwards and gives the opposition backs no momentum to play from."

The Wallabies should name their line-up for Saturday’s game on Wednesday.

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