South Africa to have a spring in their step in Brisbane
South Africa face Australia in Brisbane in the knowledge that a win will deliver them their first Tri Nations title since 2004.
The Springboks have simply been awesome so far as they have been the standout side in the competition leading them to four wins out of four.
As a result South Africa are worthy favourites at 1/3 in the betting to extend their record to five out of five and make it two wins in as many weeks against the Wallabies.
Australia were well beaten last week by 32-25 and coach Robbie Deans will be hoping that his five changes to his starting XV will have the desired effect. Last week's performance was littered with errors which were symbolic of Australia's woes under Deans.
Deans is under pressure and desperate times call for desperate measures and that is what the changes seem like. Four of the players who were on the bench last week get the nod to start, for me Deans' changes appear to have the same effect as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.
Consequently the Wallabies are outsiders at 9/4 in the betting with the draw available at 20/1.
South Africa's line-up is yet again consistent as Peter de Villiers has made just one change to his XV with Odwa Ndungane coming on the wing in the place of the injured JP Pietersen. Ndungane is priced at 12/1 to cross the line as he earns just his fifth cap.
Ndungane is one of the few inexperienced members in the World Champions' side. Centre Jaque Fourie will earn his 50th cap becoming the seventh player of the XV to have earnt 50 caps and five Springboks in total have earnt that honour this season - Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez.
The Test in Brisbane will be De Villiers last for a while as the centre is set to join Munster and with South Africa having a policy of not selecting overseas players he is unlikely to figure in the future.
The centre is 14/1 to leave the international scene with a bang by scoring the firs try of the match and his 18th of his Test career.
South Africa's all-round game is far superior to that of the Aussies as the Springboks have the best line-out and back row in the world. Not forgetting the formidable Bryan Habana on the wing.
A win against Australia in Brisbane will mean that South Africa will be just one more win away from an unprecedented Tri Nations clean sweep under the new extended format.
The way Peter de Villiers' side are playing you wouldn't bet against them achieving the clean sweep, but to do so first they will need to get past Australia and inflict more misery on Robbie Deans.
An away win looks nailed on and South Africa also look likely to succeed on the handicap line. The handicap gives Australia a six-point start and on this a Springboks win is a 4/5 shot while a home win is evens and the draw 14/1. For me 4/5 is the one to back, as the margin of victory was seven last week, and if anything I expect it to increase this time around.
The one saving grace for the Aussies could be the venue of Brisbane. South Africa have not won there since 1971 and have lost all five Tests at Lang Park plus they have not scored a try in their last three Tests at the venue.
However, I think this will be a minor hurdle to overcome for South Africa as if the world's best side perform like they they did last week in Perth there can only be one winner.