Rowell fears Wallaby backlash

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The Independent Online
South Africa's tremendous victory was just what England did not want. "Australia were really wound up towards the end of the game and we didn't need that," Jack Rowell, the England manager, said. "Australia have been given a kick and will be looking to bounce back when it next matters, in the quarter-final - that could be it for us.

"But the quarter-final was always going to be a shoot-out and nothing has changed, but this time Australia will have a lot of trouble from England because everyone knows that the loser will be going home, and obviously it could be us.

"The South African players have now leap-frogged the World Cup favourites and it is obvious it's a big advantage to be at home, as it was for England in 1991. I would never underestimate the South African players - they have been closeted together in their training camps for a while and they are up for it," he said. "They are a very good team. They're calm, confident - and very hard men."

The South African captain, Francois Pienaar, still maintained his country are not favourites for the trophy. "We still have it all to do. The World Cup is full of one-offs and we remain underdogs against nations who have fought through in other World Cups," Pienaar said. "We were more hungry than Australia today, but were far from at our best and must improve if we are to go all the way."

The South African hero, Joel Stransky, who scored a try on his way to a personal-best tally of 22 points, said: "I was lucky with so many easy kicks. It was not a question of outkicking [Michael] Lynagh. You just do your own job."

And the South Africa coach, Kitch Christie, said: "We won the game in the rucks even though the line-out was a struggle." Australia's defeated captain, Lynagh, who could only reply to Stransky's haul with 13 points of his own, admitted his side were not at their best.

"There was a great sense of occasion, but we did many things that disappointed me - we made silly errors that were costly. But nothing has really changed. We can still reach the final," the defiant skipper said.

Bob Dwyer, the Australian coach, added: "A huge improvement is needed and we may experiment with players. It is a really big blow to lose any Test, but we are still in business - and England reached the 1991 final after losing their first match."

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