CANBERRA, Australia- The Wallabies are preparing for a Springbok backlash in their next Rugby Championship Test after breaking through for their first win in the tournament against Argentina.
Australia fought back from 13-10 down at half-time to score five second-half tries in a resounding 45-20 victory over the Pumas in Canberra on Saturday.
They next face a daunting challenge against the chastened South Africans in Bloemfontein.
South Africa were hammered 57-0 in a record loss to the All Blacks in Auckland, and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is expecting the Springboks to hit back hard against his team on September 30.
“What I do know is that when we get to the Highveld, it’s going to be on,” Cheika told reporters Sunday.
“They’re going to be looking for some retribution on someone and that’s most likely going to be us and we’ve got to be ready for that.”
The Springboks are vowing to take it out on Australia after the humiliation of conceding 57 unanswered points to New Zealand, a South Africa record losing margin, eclipsing the 53-3 defeat to England in 2002.
South Africa had previously held the Wallabies to a 23-23 draw the week before in Perth on their way to New Zealand, and lie second in the Rugby Championship standings three points ahead of Australia.
“I thought South Africa would go there and perform but no one knows better than us how the game can get away from you against New Zealand,” Cheika added.
Australia trailed 54-6 against New Zealand before losing 54-34 in Sydney last month.
The Wallabies have won twice in four Tests against South Africa at Bloemfontein, including a 41-39 thriller in 2010.
Cheika said he had a couple of team changes in mind. “I think that’s been a good balance but it’s the competition for the spots,” he said. “There’s a couple of other chaps brewing in the background that we are looking to get a game in the back row.”
Those in line include Queensland Reds duo Adam Korczyk and Lukhan Tui, while NSW Waratahs flanker Jack Dempsey was impressive coming off the bench against the Pumas.
The Wallabies finish their Rugby Championship campaign with two Tests on the road: South Africa in Bloemfontein on September 30 followed by Argentina in Mendoza on October 7.
Cheika was annoyed by the Wallabies’ flat first half against Argentina and they had trailed at half-time.
“There was a lack of intent, lack of urgency in the first half. I’m not sure why. You’re playing in a Test match for Australia,” Cheika said.
“But they sorted themselves out in the second half and that was better rugby from us.”