The Springboks will have no reason not to be confident when they run out at the City of Toyota Stadium against neighbours Namibia in the African Rugby World Cup derby on Saturday. History backs the Boks against a side where 70% of its squad remains amateurs. Although there are no score targets set by the South Africans they will be expected to pile on the points.
Following the Boks defeat against the All Blacks in their opener, it will important to get back to winning ways. That should be the case against a Namibia side that has previously suffered heavy defeats against the Springboks on the two previous occasions the sides met. It’s perhaps the reason that the players have remained in a good space to go into the encounter with the right mind set despite the many changes coach Rassie Erasmus made.
“Because we were together in the build up to the rugby championship it was actually great. Today we had an unbelievable vibe at training in terms of the intensity and things that we wanted to fix so we had focus and that’s the nice thing. These guys haven’t played for two weeks now so they had an abundance of energy it was very nice like I say our system will develop,” says Jacques Nienaber, who is the Springboks Assistant coach.
Although expectation is that the Boks will dismantle their opponents, Namibia should come out with a fair measure of fighting spirit to seek to make it a competitive battle. Namibia put up a brave fight in the 47-22 defeat to Italy, this despite being the lowest ranked team at the tournament. The Springboks are hoping to develop their game across the board, in attack, with the boot and in terms of mental approach.
“We are always trying to improve on that so in my mind sitting here there is no point limit or if we concede three point that would be good defensive performance. If we concede 30 I would be disappointed, we have certain things that we would like to achieve in our game and obviously the things that we saw we lacked in the New Zealand test and we want to improve and build our systems, our skills set of our individual players within the system. So probably seeing improvement there will be more joyful than 30 points three points or zero point,” says Nienaber.
Saturday morning’s match kicks off at quarter to twelve, South African time.
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