boks 'not at their peak'

MELBOURNE - South Africa have romped to four successive wins in the Tri-Nations this season but the world champions have yet to hit full stride, coach Peter de Villiers said yesterday.

MELBOURNE - South Africa have romped to four successive wins in the Tri-Nations this season but the world champions have yet to hit full stride, coach Peter de Villiers said yesterday.

The Springboks, holding a nine-point lead over New Zealand in the standings, head into their second Test in a row on Australian soil on Saturday after cruising to a 35-25 victory over the Wallabies in Perth.

The All Blacks need Australia to upset the South African juggernaut if they are to have any chance of retaining their Tri-Nations crown.

"I know this team can go much, much higher," De Villiers told Australian media yesterday.

"And I know there is also much more talent. Now we're at the point where we can trust each other, we can work on the little things that can make them so much better."

Australia, who were outplayed by the Boks in Perth last Saturday, are already out of the running for the southern hemisphere competition after four losses in a row.

"It's frightening to know the amount of mistakes on a weekend when you have played so well, the amount of mistakes they made and how good they can be if clinical in their execution," De Villiers said of his team.

"So, yes, we trust each other, we know where we can be and we know where we want to be, but we're not taking anything for granted."

Australia's fourth loss of the competition saw coach Robbie Deans lose patience with his side and drop five players for Saturday's Test, including regular scrumhalf Luke Burgess and centre Ryan Cross.

Winger Lachie Turner insisted the Wallabies were still good enough to beat the Springboks, but concentration was key.

"We've got the game plan to really wrestle games away from the opposition (but) as a unit we've got to concentrate for the whole 80 minutes, once we do that we will be hard to stop." - Reuters

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