Victory against Australia, and not their World Rugby ranking, is the main focus of the Springbok rugby team in Brisbane. Second-placed New Zealand is slowly but surely closing in on the Boks at the top of the rankings. The Boks narrowly lost their first Rugby Championship match to the Wallabies at the Gold Coast 26-28 last weekend. South Africa will do battle with the Aussies again at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
The Springboks are the first to admit that their performance against the Wallabies last weekend was below par. They spent the week closely assessing the match to see where it all went wrong. They know they weren’t at their best. And want to make amends on Saturday.
“The thing is, we knew exactly. We watched the game and we knew where we went wrong. It was very upsetting to lose like that. The mistakes we made and some of the things are a given for us and we normally bring them, but we didn’t bring them on the day. It was difficult to see,” says Captain Siya Kolisi.
The All Blacks are narrowing the gap between themselves and the world champions on the world rankings. But victory against the Wallabies is the South Africans’ main goal.
“Winning is what we care about. And we know that’s the only thing we care about. Not the only thing we care about, but it’s the only way we can maintain that number one spot, so we want to win this weekend. I didn’t know that we could lose that number one spot, we won’t focus on that. We just want to win. That’s the most important thing so we can get back into the competition and have a chance to take the competition,” Kolisi added.
The Boks’ particular brand of rugby has been under discussion for a while. But they’re not planning to make any changes soon.
“We’re not going to try and force things and play this champagne rugby where everyone is talking about it. It’s not in us. Most important thing for us is that we are playing the pressure game. So we’ll apply the pressure through the boot, or at the set-piece or through the hands. Then we’ll do that. But our players have the freedom. Whatever decision they want to take on the field, if it’s on, they take it, ” says assistant coach Mzwandile Stick.
South Africa will have their work cut out for them in Brisbane. Since 1956, they have played 15 tests against the Wallabies there, and won only 3. But the Boks aren’t world champions for nothing. And the hosts can expect a ferocious onslaught from the visitors who want to set the record straight once again.