Boks braced for ‘titanic battle’ at Loftus

The Springboks expect a “guns blazing” performance from Eddie Jones-coached Australia in the Rugby Championship opener in Pretoria on Saturday.

Forwards coach Deon Davids, lock Marvin Orie and centre Andre Esterhuizen fronted the media in a Bok conference on Monday, in the build up to the opening Test of 2023 for the Boks, against the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld.

“Eddie is a coach who understands the importance of set-piece dominance in Test rugby,” Davids told reporters. “So, it will be a titanic battle in the set pieces, scrums, and mauls.

“It will also be important for us to play in the right areas of the field and execute our kicking game and defensive plan well.

“They’ll be up for this challenge, and looking at their team they have a good balance of experienced and talented young players.”

Orie, too, anticipated a tough encounter, adding: “They have very good players from No 1 to No 8, so they’ll come out guns blazing.

“That said, we’ve had a good few weeks of training where the focus has been on ourselves. We have a few more days before the first Test, so we’ll look at their strengths as well.”

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Esterhuizen echoed their sentiments: “Australia always come to South African shores wanting to make a statement, so we’re expecting a hard match. They’ll certainly come well prepared, and maybe have one or two things up their sleeve.”

Addressing the expectations from fans for the Boks to beat the Aussies, with an eye on the World Cup, Davids said: “As a team we’d like to win every game. For us, it’s about the passion for the team and the country, and we want to build momentum for the World Cup at the same time.”

Esterhuizen believes the atmosphere in the camp was good, and he hopes this weekend’s Bok result will set the tone for the rest of the season.

“The communication between the players and coaches is very good,” he said . “We’ve had a productive three weeks together, so everyone knows our goals and plans, and the team is happy.”

“This [Rugby Championship] is a stepping stone in the right direction for the end goal [the Rugby World Cup], but our main goal right now is this competition.”

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber will announce his match-day 23 to face the Wallabies on Tuesday.


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