Loose forward Kwagga Smith emphasised the significance of securing possession when the Springboks and All Blacks lock horns in the World Cup final on Saturday.
The old enemies are gearing up for a blockbuster decider in Paris, and speaking ahead of the clash, Smith also expressed his deep respect for the All Blacks, although is unfazed by the need for respect in return from Bok critics.
“We don’t play for people to respect us, we play for each other and we play for South Africa, so they can be proud of us,” he told reporters in a Bok conference this week.
“For me, I have been playing against the All Blacks in all forms [of the game]. I mean I played U20s against them when Ardie [Savea] played for them and then I played sevens against them and now 15s also.
“Like we said, there’s a lot of respect between each other and we know we are going to bring out the best in each other.”
Smith added: “For me, playing against the All Blacks is just an honour. I know it’s going to be physical but it gets me up and I am excited for that.
“The breakdown is always important but especially against New Zealand, it’s a massive thing. We’ve been working a lot on it but I know they’re really good fetchers.
“So, we’ve got to be sharp, we’ve got to make sure we keep our own ball. They are good players and I really rate them [All Blacks back row].”
Smith, too, discussed his pivotal role off the bench in recent years, and how the Bomb Squad understands the importance of seizing opportunities, especially in a final that could extend beyond the regulation 80 minutes.
He added: “Since 2019 the bench has had a massive impact with the Springboks so it’s something that’s been building up for years now. When we are on the bench we know we have a responsibility to fulfill.
“Playing in the final we know it’s going to be 80 minutes, maybe it might go to 100 minutes, you never know. You know you’ve got to be ready and make sure you use your opportunity when you get it.”