Skipper John Smit warned his rusty Springboks Friday to settle quickly against Australia in a Tri-Nations Test this weekend.
Most of the starting line-up for Saturday have been recovering from injuries and missed the away leg of the championship in which a virtual 'B' team suffered heavy losses to Australia and title holders New Zealand.
"Things can happen pretty quickly in the Tri-Nations and you cannot afford too much time to settle in," warned 104-cap Smit who will be making his final Test appearance at the Kings Park home of his provincial team the Sharks.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers conceded earlier this week that a Springbok side boasting a record 810 caps might take time to click as stars like scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and flank Heinrich Brüssow had not worn the green and gold jersey for 21 months.
"Most of the guys have proven themselves on the world stage and although they might struggle in the first 15 to 20 minutes, I believe the natural talent of the Springboks will kick in after that," said the coach.
Smit is one of just two survivors from the team humiliated in Sydney and Wellington and he is relishing teaming up with stars like lock Victor Matfield and Du Preez again.
"It is a strong team - one of the best we have been able to pick for a while - and yet there are still a few players unavailable," Smit told a media conference.
"Being able to delegate is fantastic. We have created an amazing understanding among five or six of the guys in terms of their responsibilities on the field and who covers what areas.
"Hopefully things will click Saturday like they have for the past five or six years," said Smit, who retires as a Springbok after the World Cup in New Zealand to join London club Saracens.
"We certainly want to win playing at home in our back garden with a strong team against Australia, who are ranked higher than us on the world rankings and have won four of the last five Tests between the countries.
"It is one of two games before we get into a World Cup, so this is just part of our preparations. But this is an important Test to win," added the 33-year-old who led the Springboks to a 15-6 victory over England in the 2007 World Cup final.
Honours are even in Tri-Nations Tests between the countries with 17 wins apiece and they have triumphed twice each at Kings Park, a sea-level venue that robs South Africa of any altitude advantage.
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