Cape Town - “Massive”.
That’s how Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and captain Adriaan Strauss described Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff.
After losing 20-18 to Italy in Florence at the weekend, the South Africans are under severe pressure heading into their final Test of the year.
Under Coetzee’s tutelage in 2016, the Boks have lost seven of 11 Tests. It has included a first ever loss to Ireland on home soil, losing away to Argentina and getting pummelled by a record 57-15 scoreline at home against the All Blacks.
In the wake of a first-ever defeat to Italy, the Springbok brains trust emphasised the importance of the Welsh Test.
“There is a great rivalry between us and this week the Test between the two countries will be a massive one. Recent matches between us have been very close, decided by small margins, so it will be another huge battle. Both teams have a lot to play for,” said Strauss.
He added: “Everyone is hurting and we really want to play a good game of rugby on Saturday.”
Coetzee said: “They might not be happy with their form of late, but Wales have a quality side, an experienced side. You can say we are both in the same boat at the moment, so it will be a massive Test on Saturday.”
Coetzee also explained his team will focus a lot on their mental preparation this week.
“We will try and keep it simple and we will have clear, simple focus for the week. We want to be mentally sharp and go into the match with fresh energy,” said Coetzee.
Strauss will lead the Boks out in his last Test match on Saturday as he will retire from international rugby at the end of the tour.
The Bok team will be named on Thursday.