Wallabies lose Moore for Springboks match

MELISSA WOODS
Last updated 10:17 26/09/2012
Stephen Moore
Getty Images
HAMSTRUNG: A hamstring injury has forced Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore to return to Australia before the match against the Springboks.

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The Wallabies expect hooker Stephen Moore to be the only absentee in Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Pretoria.

A gastro bug has gone through the camp but team officials are confident of having everyone available when the line-up for the Loftus Versfeld match is named on Thursday.

First choice No 2 Moore is on his way back to Australia from South Africa after a hamstring injury prematurely ended his two-match tour.

Moore was set to become the most capped hooker in Wallabies history against the Springboks in Pretoria on Saturday, overtaking Jeremy Paul with the pair currently on 72.

However the 29-year-old re-injured his troublesome hamstring at training and returned home on Tuesday night.

The injury has forced him to miss the past two Wallabies Tests.

Tatafu Polota-Nau will now start at hooker and Saia Faingaa to come on to the bench while Queenslander James Hanson will join the squad on Wednesday and he will remain with the side for their trip to Argentina to play the Pumas at Rosario on October 7.

The Wallabies are looking for their first ever victory in Pretoria when the teams line up at Loftus Versfeld.

They cracked their first win over South Africa on the high veldt in 47 years with their epic win in Bloemfontein in 2010.

While nine Australians are backing up from that victory, only Jannie du Plessis and fellow prop Tendai Mtawarira have more than 30 caps in the South African pack that recently lost to the All Blacks in Dunedin.

But Du Plessis said there were some advantages to inexperience.

"Those players are hungry and will play better than someone who has played a hundred Tests and has a 'been there, done that' approach.

"As they say, 'a hungry dog hunts best'," he said.

Du Plessis said the Australian scrum was a different prospect to New Zealand as they relied more on strategy than a physical presence.

"I don't want to say they are cheaters, please don't say that, but they just scrum differently," he said.

"The Wallabies are much more tactical, they know what they want from scrums in certain areas and that's what they'll attack.

"So it's a big challenge against them ... they have a great loosehead in Benn Robinson and he scrums well with Tatafu Polota-Nau, they're both shortish and quite strong."

Dennis said the front-row had worked hard to counter their opposition.

"What suits us might not suit them.

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"It's all within the laws, it's just whatever works for your team."

- AAP

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