South Africa captain John Smit is confident his experienced players can shrug off their lack of recent on-field action and be up to face Australia in their Tri-Nations showdown today.
Coach Peter de Villiers' starting line-up has 810 caps between them, the most in Springbok history, but questions remain over a number of players who have not seen action since the end of the Super 15 season last month.
After his depleted squad suffered two heavy defeats on the overseas leg of the campaign last month, hooker Smit believes this side's collective experience will offset any ring-rustiness.
"It is a strong team, one of the best we have been able to pick for a while – there are still a few players unavailable, but it's the best we can do right now," said Smit, who will earn his 105th cap this afternoon in Durban. "Hopefully, we can use those guys to step it up."
The world champions were missing more than 20 senior players when they lost 39-20 in Sydney and 40-7 in Wellington. But Smit says he draws strength from the return of some of his regulars.
"It's been fantastic that I have been able to delegate. We have created an amazing understanding amongst five or six of the guys, in terms of what their responsibilities are on the field and who covers what areas," he added. "Hopefully, things will click like they have for the last five or six years."