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Why the world needs the Wallabies

Springbok tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis looked at me as if I was completely mad when I asked him at a press conference if it felt strange to see how far the common Wallaby had plunged in rugby estimates where it really counts: in the media and court of public perception, of course.

The good doctor glared at me, possibly considering telling me what he really thought, and then made his media manager very proud in extolling the yellow-clad virtuosos, saying something along the lines of "not even the okes at the farm are writing them off", so quite clearly my question was completely bonkers. But that's a debate for another day.

The fact is that nobody is giving the Wallabies a chance against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday, and after watching the Boks dismantle them in Brisbane and Argentina coming within a whisker of skinning them a week later, you can't really blame us, can you?

But perhaps that's what is really makes them dangerous this weekend. With nothing to lose and coach Ewen McKenzie perhaps rather wishing he was emailing out his CV and not Jake White, a performance could well unfold that could even cause James O'Connor watching back home in his slippers and sipping Horlicks wishing he was back in the mix. So to speak.

The Boks have been talking a good game in Cape Town all week, as they do under Heyneke Meyer. They spent time on Heritage Day at the opening of the Springbok Experience meeting fans and taking a look around the very impressive museum. The pull that the Boks have is always impressive to watch.

While a personal highlight for me was phoning Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula to ask why he wasn't in attendance, and then offering the honourable minister a few pointers on the economics exam he was studying for.

The Boks also showed their support for the Chris Burger-Petro Jackson Fund, where along with the tremendous cause supported so fantastically, the main talking point was Australia scrumhalf Will Genia, on-stage, in a dark suit, wearing white socks. Apparently in some parts that's high-fashion.

Those have been additional activities to the Boks' busy training schedule, which included a closed session on Tuesday to work on a number of new ideas. I think it was a probably a: "Let's do what we did in Brisbane, cool?"

In terms of housekeeping, Adriaan Strauss replaces Bismarck du Plessis as Meyer rotates his hookers, with the Sharks man to start at Ellis Park against the All Blacks. As I understand it he has given each three starts in this competition, in a trial of sorts, as he decides who his Number One, Number Two will be.

While we're all looking forward to seeing the added 'zip' that Fourie du Preez brings to the Springbok backline, he played last week for his Japanese club Suntory Goliath as they lost their first match in 25 games, by a point too, 34-33. Let's hope that's not an omen for the weekend.

The fact of the matter though is that world rugby needs a strong Wallabies team. I like to think of them as the jackals of the world game: incredibly streetwise, lightning-quick both in action and in thought and the ultimate exploiters of opportunity.

Plus they've that pointy all-knowing face, that makes you want to…

They've always been the thinking man's team from way before Eales and Horan, right up to Pocock, Genia and Mogg. Long may it continue, too.

Back to the Boks, who need that bonus-point to keep the competition alive where this weekend sees Morne Steyn along with Jannie du Plessis both play in their 50th Test matches, a huge feat.

With that in mind, I did ask Jannie (from well back in the room now) if he hoped it'd be a bit better than his 49th where brother Bismarck was red-carded and he, the big number three, was left flailing after a couple of All Blacks in Auckland like a Takeshi's Castle participant.

The blonde bombshell smiled and said he'd let the team down last weekend in what overall was a poor performance. Something tells me this Australian team isn't coming up for air anytime soon.

You can follow Jean on Twitter: @JeanSmyth