Springbok rugby has done a 180 degree turn in a matter of two test matches. The reigning world champions, fresh from a British and Irish Lions series win, were brought down to earth with a thud after two losses against Australia. There is barely enough time to unpack what needs to be fixed, because New Zealand is next up, and the All Blacks are on a red hot streak at the moment.

Two losses to Australia in quick succession and now on to consecutive test matches against the All Blacks. It does not get any easier for the Boks, however, this squad has been in a similar position twice before.

“When it comes to New Zealand obviously you have to be good in all the areas technically and I think for these players and this team they have been in this position before. We lost against the British and Irish Lions in the first test in the world cup also they lost the first test against New Zealand and for them, they were able to pick them up. So there is a lot of experience, there is a lot of understanding in the squad in terms of what went wrong and what needs to be done and I am hopeful and confident that the players will pitch and play towards their standard that we know of, ” says Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids.

The players are putting up their hands to take responsibility for what happened against Australia. They’re clearly still in shock, but have to shake the losses off and go again.

“We’ve gone through the game and we sat at the meeting we just all recognised our mistakes. We know that there is always room for improvement and every player is professional enough to know where the errors were made and obviously, it’s a new week for us and new challenge ahead and all the mistakes that were made they are very fixable and that is what we are going to be working on this week,” says Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Saturday will be the 100th test match between South Africa and New Zealand, an auspicious milestone, and perhaps convenient that it will happen on neutral territory.

“We understand that there is a big rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand and we respect that rivalry but we’ve also learned from the past that milestones can influence your performances and for us the only focus is to focus on our next performance and that is important for us,” Davids added.

The good news is that the broader squad is available for selection, except for Cheslin Kolbe, who is training but still doubtful for this weekend. The team to take on New Zealand will be announced on Tuesday.