Wed, Jun 20, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Wallabies' Sharpe throws down gauntlet to Springboks

AFP , SYDNEY

Australia lock Nathan Sharpe threw down the gauntlet to the in-form Springboks yesterday, saying South Africa were over-confident and the Wallabies would relish playing them on home turf.

Sharpe said he was pleased with Australia's performance during a 22-19 loss to South Africa in the Tri Nations series opener in Cape Town on Saturday, when predictions the Wallabies' pack would crumble proven mistaken.

The second rower said the Australian pack had been fired up by a perceived lack of respect from South Africa and was keen to improve for the return match against the Springboks in Sydney on July 7.

"They like to talk themselves up a little bit and that is always a good incentive for us to play well and that certainly helped us," Sharpe said.

Asked if the Springboks were as good as they suggested, Sharpe replied: "No, I don't think so."

"They are always a different team to play at home and we are very much looking forward to meeting them back in Sydney in a couple of weeks' time," he said.

Sharpe said the Wallabies' performance in Cape Town showed they were on the right track less than three months out from the World Cup.

"Definitely, you don't want to peak too early in a year like this and there's a lot of guys in this coaching environment and structure that are still learning from the coaches we've got," Sharpe said.

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