Wallabies can cover as veteran ruled out
Wallabies can cover as veteran ruled out

Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore has been ruled out of tomorrow's Nelson Mandela Plate Challenge against South Africa at Patersons Stadium after straining a ham-string at training yesterday.

The veteran front-rower will now have to wait to for his 73rd appearance to become Australia's most capped hooker.

The Brumbies rake is the latest in a long line of injury concerns for the Wallabies. His place will be taken by Tatafu Polota-Nau with Saia Fainga'a moving to the bench.

Prop Ben Alexander is sure the move will not disrupt the scrum.

"We've been practising a lot at training with lots of different combinations. We very rarely pack more than a couple in a row with the same guys," he said.

"It shouldn't cause any problem … we all know what he's (Polota-Nau) capable of."

However, he is not so sure about what the younger, new look Springboks will bring to the clash.

"It's a completely different Springboks side. It's completely fresh, a new era. How they've played in the past, nothing of that counts for anything," he said.

"When they had a consistent side you knew what they would bring. Mentally you knew what you were up for and knew what you had to do to try and stop them.

"You knew guys like Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith. You knew their strengths, you knew their weaknesses.

"These young blokes are roaring ready to go, (Eben) Etzebeth, (Juandre) Kruger, (Duane) Vermeulen. They are all big units, they bring new elements to the game. They all look mobile and pretty fast

"Just a few young guys bring a huge enthusiasm and it's infectious. It gets the older blokes going even more.

"It will benefit the Springboks players that were there before having those younger guys in there.

"Saying that, we've got to test them out and take the game to them. We've got to fight fire with fire."

The Wallabies will certainly need to raise their game from the last two losses to the All Blacks, especially if they are to meet their own challenge of playing an expansive game and improving their poor try scoring.

They have only scored six tries in six Tests and they have to get their back line on the front foot, starting at the breakdown and set piece.

"We didn't challenge the All Blacks at all at the breakdown and look at the ball they got to attack with," Alexander said. "We've learnt the lessons that we've been taught in those last two games.

"We tried so hard but just weren't good enough. The effort was there but we weren't good enough. We've gone a long way to fix that."

·Members of the Armed Forces who present their military ID at any ticket box at Patersons Stadium tomorrow will receive a complimentary silver ticket to the Test from the Australian Rugby Union in recognition of their service and contribution to the country.

The Wallabies and Springboks will wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence ahead of the clash as a mark of respect for the five Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week.

The West Australian

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