South Africa v Australia, Tri-Nations, Bloemfontein, September 4
Mitchell: Wallabies still believe
September 2, 2010
Drew Mitchell believes Australia can upset the Springboks in Bloemfontein this weekend © Getty Images
Drew Mitchell is in no doubt that Australia are capable of beating South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Wallabies came out on the wrong end of a 44-31 scoreline in Pretoria last weekend despite leading by 14 points at two separate points during a remarkable opening quarter. That defeat enabled the Springboks to leapfrog the Aussies into second place in the Tri-Nations standings and they will secure the runners-up berth if they triumph again this weekend.
Many pundits feel it will be difficult for the Wallabies to bounce back in Bloemfontein given the manner of their defeat last weekend, but Mitchell insists that confidence within the camp remains high.
"It is not as if we don't believe we can beat these guys," he said. "We have beaten them twice in Brisbane in the last year; we know we can do it.
"Certain parts of last week's game we definitely showed we are more than capable. It is just a case of us needing to be more consistent through the 80 minutes and to beware of giving away points immediately after we have scored ourselves. We did that too often last week."
However, Mitchell is heartened by the attacking prowess demonstrated by the Wallabies during an opening 40 minutes at Loftus in which they notched four times.
"I think the boys have grown their self-belief after last week - that first half was extremely encouraging for us," he said. "I know it didn't go well in the second half, and that was disappointing. We only managed three points after half-time even though we had plenty of opportunities, and that is something we are going to have to rectify."
However, there is still the minor issue of altitude, with the Wallabies not having beaten the Boks on the Highveld since 1963.
"I guess it's been talked about a lot, but we were pretty close last weekend," he said. "We know it has been a long time since an Australian team has won there, and we know it is a losing sequence we must break. The boys have this self-belief and a collective belief that we are capable of doing it. We hope to create a bit of history."
This weekend's game will see Mitchell reach the 50-cap mark for his country but the winger insists that he is more preoccupied with helping his side claim a morale-boosting win than celebrating a notable personal landmark.
"Of the 49 I've played so far, each have been important in their own right," he said. "This weekend, probably off the back of last weekend's performance, has somewhat more significance in its own right."
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