Cape Town - A low error rate will be vital if the Springboks are to upset the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday, former No 8 Pierre Spies believes.
Ahead of the 94th Test between the two rivals, Spies spoke exclusively to Sport24 to share his views on the Springboks’ chances.
“The All Blacks are the best team in the world at this stage. However, every Saturday is a new beginning and I believe anything can happen on the day. The All Blacks are a very well-drilled attacking team and our defence has to be effective to shut them down. In order to succeed against the Al Blacks, it really comes down to a low error rate,” Spies said.
“One slipped tackle or bad kick affords them opportunities, so the Boks have to be extremely focused. If the Boks can learn to hold onto the ball for multiple phases, they can start to convert pressure into points. Playing in New Zealand is always a difficult assignment. However, it will be a good way to measure where the Boks are at in terms of their development against the All Blacks, who will put them under immense pressure. It's going to require a full 80-minute effort of complete focus from the Boks and, when you beat the All Blacks, it’s not by any fluke. You have to really deserve it.”
The recently retired Spies played 10 times against the All Blacks, winning five of those matches.
He said it was not impossible to beat the All Blacks in their own back yard.
“The Boks have assembled a great coaching staff and I’m sure that they have done their homework in order to make the right technical decisions. The All Blacks are a great side, but aren’t unbeatable and it will be a good yardstick to see what pressure the Boks can apply on their hosts. I’m looking forward to an exciting Test on Saturday,” he said.
In 93 Tests against the All Blacks, the Springboks have won 35, lost 55 and drew three times.
In Tests played in New Zealand, the South Africans have won only nine times, losing 31, with two draws.
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire; 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende