Coach Rassie Erasmus says it is imperative that the Springboks return to winning ways against neighbours Namibia on Saturday.
Erasmus made 13 changes to the Springboks’ starting lineup for the upcoming clash with Namibia, including a change in captain with Schalk Brits taking over the leadership role in the unfamiliar No 8 position.
‘There’s a good blend of serious experience and serious talent in this lineup and I’m looking forward to seeing them perform,’ Erasmus commented on his selections.
‘This is a Springbok team that is hungry to play and show what they can do and the majority of them have had the chance to play as a combination together a couple of times this season.’
The 46-year-old Erasmus also encouraged his match-day squad to treat the match as a must-win encounter to help the team regain confidence after the loss to the All Blacks.
‘Every match is a must-win game for us now and we are treating this match with the same level of preparation as we did New Zealand last week. They’ve got an important job to do: you always lose momentum in a defeat and we need to regain that with a victory and a strong performance.’
Erasmus then warned his charges against complacency, demanding that Namibia should not be underestimated.
‘There’s no denying, we’ll start as favourites but we’ll get a helluva shock if we think that’s enough to win the game. We have to treat all opponents in this tournament with equal seriousness, stick to our planning, bring intensity and then hopefully we’ll get our rewards.
‘Already we’ve seen that the tier-2 nations are increasingly competitive in this tournament. Namibia held Italy to a 25-point margin [47-22] in their opening match and scored three tries in making Italy scrap all the way.’