The Springboks rolled into London to face England this weekend in their final test of the year off the back of some mixed results. England, too, has racked up a few inconsistent performances, which makes Saturday’s match at Twickenham quite an evenly-matched encounter.
The fourth-ranked Springboks face the fifth-ranked English with both sides building ahead of the World Cup next year, and keen to show their progress.
The Springboks have created an ultra-competitive environment to keep the standards high.
This is according to players like Thomas du Toit, an accomplished prop in his own right, who is continually fighting for his place in the Bok pack. He last played against Wales in the second test in July.
Four new players have been included in the #Springboks starting line-up for the final Test of 2022 at Twickenham – team announcement: https://t.co/XPMw7vg5pW 💪#StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #ENGvRSA pic.twitter.com/3UtyYPdIv0
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 22, 2022
Du Toit says the strength and depth in the squad, especially at prop, is key to future success.
“We really support each other by giving each other a hard time, we really go at each other at the scrums and if you mess up there is always compliments and there is always advice to be given and it is really a competitive environment, but it is really a high learning high-performance environment which is brilliant for us. It is the best type of environment that you can grow as a rugby player and especially as a prop and the scenario that we have got here with unbelievably great props that we have got.”
The Springboks have an axe to grind with England anytime the two meet.
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 23, 2022
But Du Toit says he believes that rivalry has advanced since their last meeting this time last year, which should make for a fresh approach to try and get a win over England.
“Everyone is trying to evolve and grow in their foundation and fundamentals but also start creating a different style of play and an exciting style of rugby and we’ve seen that in the way that they have played and I believe they have seen in the way we played over the past couple of weeks that we tried everyone is trying to evolve the game.”
With the match against England falling outside the test window, and certain players unavailable, this test may fall foul of the end-of-season blues where players just want to wrap up the tour.
However, Du Toit stressed that this is the last competitive match for a while, and a good performance by a player will leave a lasting impression ahead of the 2023 World Cup preparations…
“This is going to be the last time that we are together as this group for six or seven months so it is very important to have that in the back of your mind that you played a good game and hopefully got the result.”
The Springboks are also desperate to break a three-match losing streak at Twickenham.
Many players in this current squad have never experienced a Boks win at the home of rugby, reason enough to make this test a compelling encounter this weekend.