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Wallabies 'in the moment'

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Sportal.co.nz     05 Sep 2009     Getty Images

Australia has held all the aces at Suncorp Stadium, with the Springboks yet to register a win in five attempts at the venue.

The two sides last clashed in Brisbane in 2006, with the hosts registering a thumping 49-0 win - by some margin Australia's greatest ever triumph over the Springboks.

The fortune of the two teams have taken severely different paths, with the Wallabies staring down the barrel of seven consecutive Tri Nations defeats and the visitors on the cusp of an undefeated run through the tournament.

Wallabies captain George Smith believed his teammates have made a conscious effort to overlook the impressive home record in Brisbane.

"I think the boys have had good success here in the past, apart from the Kiwi game last year - it's always been a stadium where you enjoy playing," he said.

"But we haven't spoken about that game that happened three years ago … our focus has been on this week's game rather than what happened in the past."

National coach Robbie Deans, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Friday, backed Smith's words, saying his charges must 'live in the moment'.

South Africa captain John Smit was hesitant to use the word revenge, but admitted the debacle of 2006 would still be in the back of the minds of the 10 remaining players from that game.

"In 2006 I think it was a really tough lesson for us at that stage, and one that helped us rectify the next 12 months," Smit said.

Smit admitted that the challenge of winning in Brisbane was a major one for his side, and had no explanation for its terrible record in Queensland.

Smit may have overseen his side jump into the box seat for the Tri Nations trophy with four wins from four matches, but he believed the Wallabies were a much better side than their performances in 2009.

"We've been in the same boat in 2006 and as tough as it was for us in those times, we knew that there was going to be a time where we came out of it and were stronger for it," he said.

"It is just a matter of time before Australia, and the young guys that they've got, do find each other and do get the experience."

"You look at the points difference and the games played - the fact that we've won four - but there certainly is not that kind of difference on the field between the three teams."

"The three teams are still hosting the top three spots in world rugby and at any one stage we could have lost and we still can lose a game."

Smit was ruthlessly critical of the Springboks' last start (a 32-25 win over Australia), saying they showed 'mental softness' to allow the Wallabies back into the contest after leading 22-6 at halftime in Perth.

"It was a game where they finished much stronger than we did, that didn't really help in our mindset and I suppose that is one of the details we've had to work on."

"We did it again in the first game of the Lions series, let the foot off the gas."

"It's time for this team to start learning - when it's time to finish things off, we need to."

Deans thought there was a sense of self-belief amongst the playing group.

"They (South Africa) are obviously a team that is at the peak of their game, they're brimming with confidence, with good reason - but it's a great opportunity for us."

"I'd like to think we've found all the ways we're going to find to err."

"It starts at nil-all. We've got 15, they've got 15 and it'll be what it is on the day."