Wallabies brace for show of Bok power
James Slipper. Pic: Getty Images

Two forward packs with plenty to prove will clash in the Wallabies-Springboks showdown at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.

The Wallabies were humiliated by the All Blacks in the 51-20 Bledisloe Cup loss, while the South African forwards were mauled as they scraped past Argentina by two points late last month.

The Springboks, who pride themselves on their set piece, have been put through some intense sessions in the build-up to the Perth Test and Wallabies prop James Slipper is expecting a ferocious backlash.

He said it had been a long time since a South African scrum was manhandled in the manner it was by Los Pumas.

"There are two teams coming here to prove a point, that starts up front with the scrum and line-outs," Slipper said.

"Set piece is a very integral part of winning a Test match and we're not shying away from that.

"It would be childish of us, thinking we are going to physically bash the Springboks. It's a very hard thing to do.

"We know it's going to be a very physical encounter. They will be pretty keen to assert their dominance. I'm expecting them to improve out of sight and come at us.

"I'm sure they are disappointed with the way they played against the Argentineans as we are against the All Blacks.

"The hard work we put in over the last two years … we threw out the window."

Slipper said the expected return of Victor Matfield, the world's best line-out exponent who missed the two matches against Argentina with a knee injury, would be a huge morale boost for the Springboks.

"We all know what Matfield can do and how he picks apart other teams' line-outs. We'll be working really hard there and coming up with a few different tricks," Slipper said.

Hooker James Hanson is set for just his third Test after a debut in the 2012 Bledisloe Cup 18-all draw and his appearance from the bench in the last match after the injury to Nathan Charles.

The Springboks are expected to start Adriaan Strauss at No.2 with Bismarck du Plessis moving to the bench.

"Whichever way they go they pose a different threat. I'm looking forward to the challenge," Hanson said. "They are both world-class hookers. Bismarck has been there for a long time and Strauss has performed admirably for a few years now."

Hanson said there would be no extra pressure having Matfield towering at the line-out in front of him as he prepared to throw in.

"It would be childish of us, thinking we are going to physically bash the Springboks.""Wallabies prop *James Slipper *

The West Australian

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