'Being a Bok is an honour'
Kimberley - Tri-Nations victories, Currie Cup titles and rugby honours will be moved to the background as the Springboks focus on going through their European tour unbeaten.
South Africa top the International Rugby Board’s world rankings. However, New Zealand are breathing down their necks and the pressure will be on South Africa to underline their dominance this year with victories in Europe.
“South Africa definitely have the ability to keep their place at the top of the world rankings. They proved that in the Tri-Nations,” said former Springbok flank and captain Corné Krige.
Many experts believe that South Africa will be fatigued and struggle to give their best on tour.
History points to the opposite being the case. South Africa enjoyed successful tours of the Northern Hemisphere in recent years.
In 2007 the Boks won the World Cup and afterwards beat Wales. The world champions also finished their tour to Britain at the end of 2008 unbeaten after beating Wales, Scotland and England.
“You get a little tired from all the rugby, but it’s such an honour to play for the Boks that you always give your best. Every game in a Bok jersey is special,” said Krige.
With the Tri-Nations already in the bag, South Africa will be eager for a clean sweep in the Northern Hemisphere. Coach Peter de Villiers, who has led South Africa to 6 victories and 3 defeats in away games since his appointment in January 2008, will be eyeing more victories.
While they are touring with a relatively young squad, South Africa should have the beating of France, Italy and Ireland.
“It’s a great opportunity for the young players to gain experience with an eye to the World Cup in 2011. The Boks will miss Pierre Spies, but Ashley Johnson has a lot of talent,” said Krige.