Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold believes a lot is riding on the battle between Heinrich Brüssow and David Pocock in Wellington on Sunday.
Gold reckons the impact at the breakdown will be the “defining factor” in the World Cup quarter-final between South Africa and Australia.
“The breakdown will be the defining factor this weekend for teams both on attack and defence,” he said.
“They [Brüssow and Pocock] are two significant forces and both teams are going to have to be on their toes when those two jackals come close to the breakdown.”
While Gold was well aware that what he said was not news, he highlighted that the way the two fetchers adapt to their immediate surrounding would be crucial to the outcome.
“The guys who not only master the tackle area, but also adhere to the referee’s interpretations the best are probably going to be in the best position to win this game,” he said.
“For them there is such a fine line between being genius or breaking the law, so their roles are essential, not only in what they do, but in their decision making at that particular moment in time.”
Gold admitted that the Bok forwards had learnt many valuable lessons from their previous encounter with the Wallabies and that they respected their pack.
The men, who are his responsibility, were particularly poor during the second half of their Tri-Nations encounter in Durban where they suffered an eye-opening 14-9 defeat.
It was, however, the first match Brüssow had played for his country since a prolonged injury lay-off, and because Schalk Burger was still recovering from a thumb injury, Danie Rossouw was deployed at flank.
Rossouw, who had been one of the most impressive Springbok forwards at the World Cup, will be starting in his more preferred lock position this weekend after another freak injury ruled Bakkies Botha out of the match.
Gold said that Rossouw ‘s influence on the team is in the same league as the “jackals”.
“The history in World Cups have shown that teams who have been able to have guys that are reasonably versatile in those types of crucial positions is important. Danie is absolutely essential for us,” he added.
“To have a guy with that kind of versatility and ability around the park makes a big difference.”