Rugby Championship

Bok hooker: We've put Wellington win behind us

2018-10-02 08:37
Malcolm Marx (Getty)

Pretoria - A firm, stern message was given by Springbok talisman Malcolm Marx ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship showdown with the world champion All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld.

The Boks may have shocked the rugby world with their epic defensive victory in Wellington, but they know they are going to face a backlash that will come at them hard on a field made for running rugby and in a cauldron atmosphere that will remind us how special Test match rugby is.

And Marx knows this. The giant from the one-point defeat at Newlands last year - which earned him plaudits from all around the world - has grown in leaps and bounds since that match and will be looking to play a similar role for his team in Saturday's big game.

But Marx isn’t a man of many words normally. And while he admits the Wellington win was amazing, it was something that needs to be forgotten because living on memories can only lead to heartbreak against the All Blacks.

“I think just putting that behind us,” Marx told SuperSport.com when asked about the Wellington game.

“That victory was amazing for us but it’s in the past now and we have to focus on this week. We must focus on ourselves and where we can get better and obviously look at what we did wrong in the All Blacks and Australia games and try improve on that.

“We’ll go from there, we don’t want to focus on the past because that won’t help us with anything. We've got to focus on this week and this week only.”

Marx may well be stating the obvious there and it is a bit of a rugby cliché, but he knows a large part of the rugby supporters in the country are still tipsy on that win and may find some sobering returns at Loftus if they don’t recognise the measure of the threat posed and the way the All Blacks will be chomping at the bit to get back at them.

After all, it was All Black coach Steve Hansen who arrived in South Africa and said they were looking to “right a wrong”. If that isn’t a statement of intent then few are in the modern game.

Marx wouldn’t give too much away about the team’s plans other than to say they were looking to up the ante on attack and not just defend as they did in Wellington for large parts of the game.

“We provided a good base for the backs and we exited well. We obviously want to attack a bit more, we were on defence quite a bit. We will look at the coach’s plan and see where we go.”

Marx also played down his role last year in the Newlands defeat, even though it was rated by a number of New Zealand commentators as one of the finest they had seen. To him the performance meant little because the team lost the game, and that has driven the hooker to look for more positives, for more consistency in performance and for more from his own game.

“It wasn’t me, it was the team to be honest. If you saw how the guys prepped during the week, how hard we worked and if you watched the game carefully you saw how hard everyone around the field was working, it was immense.

“I won’t take the credit for that definitely not. The side scrummed well, the lineout functioned well, we played good rugby but unfortunately we lost that game by one point. Moving on from that is important because that is in the past and won’t help me now. I’ve got to focus on this week and see what I can do better.”

And while there is always a buzz around a New Zealand game, Marx is more than revved up for this one as it could mean more than just a win in the Rugby Championship, it could add a lot more spice to the rugby world less than a year away from the World Cup where these two teams will meet in their first pool game again.

“There is always been a buzz and the guys are a bit more positive. Obviously beating New Zealand in New Zealand was huge for us and trying to back it up and beating the Aussies in Port Elizabeth which we are happy about. But that is in the past now, we have to focus on this week only.”

The Springbok team to face the All Blacks will be named on Thursday.

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