Lock Marvin Orie says the Springboks have ramped up their training in anticipation for a massive forward battle against the All Blacks when the teams first clash in the Rugby Championship next week.
The Boks are preparing to renew hostilities with the old enemy in the Republic buoyed by a 2-1 series victory over Wales on home soil, while New Zealand will travel to SA on the back of an unprecedented series defeat by Ireland.
The arch-rivals will kick off the southern-hemisphere showpiece in Nelspruit on 6 August, with another clash at Ellis Park to follow a week later.
Based in Mpumalanga for a week-long training camp, Orie told media that the Boks have geared their preparations towards the threats posed by the All Blacks, especially after a host of the current SA squad are making the switch to a southern-hemisphere competition after facing northern-hemisphere teams in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
“The switch from playing Super Rugby to the United Rugby Championship was challenging at first, as the styles of rugby between the southern and northern hemispheres are different,” said Orie, who won the inaugural URC trophy with the Stormers.
“But I believe it was advantageous for us and that we can apply those learnings in the national team. We know the Rugby Championship will be a different challenge, but we have been simulating our training sessions according to what we can expect in the tournament.”
When asked about the All Blacks locks, the 29-year-old admitted they had a top-class players but that the Boks were excited about lining up against the Kiwis.
“They are renowned for their strong set piece, and they have world-class players in their ranks,” said Orie. “Brodie Retallick was injured, and Sam Whitelock missed one game [against Ireland], so this will be a good challenge for us.
“That said, we have world-class locks, too, and there is good competition within the squad. We’ve also spent a lot of time analysing their lineout, and we know it will be a challenge against them, but we have been preparing as well as possible.”
On how the confidence of winning the URC has helped his performance in the green and gold, Orie added that he has been adapting well to his role in the national team: “It was fantastic to be involved with the Stormers and to go all the way in the United Rugby Championship.
“I didn’t think we would do that, and it is good to be back in Cape Town where I started playing my rugby. And to be with the Springboks is an honour and privilege, so for me it is a case of taking it day by day and doing my best to make the team perform well.”