Schalk Burger says the improved Springboks will have their work cut out for them during the four-Test tour of Europe in November.
The Springboks, who finished second in the Rugby Championship, have progressed under coach Rassie Erasmus.
‘I’ve really enjoyed this massive energy around the Bok set-up. The team is playing with a lot of guts and with an identity that in the previous years they were lacking a little bit. As always, I think the challenge comes when conditions don’t quite suit us.
‘We find it quite difficult to find territory and create pressure conditions that are trying, for example, the Newlands Test against England in June. We’ve got to improve technically and be more tactically astute.
‘When we’re playing in good conditions – like the two highveld games against England – where our big forwards come around the corner with Faf de Klerk and Handré Pollard marshalling the game, we find it easy to play with tempo.
‘November will be a big Test for this group, because obviously the conditions are challenging. What the teams over here are very good at is creating pressure through kicking, excellent exit play and just structuring things a bit differently. South Africa is better at playing heads-up rugby, using the forwards around the corner. It’s going to be a tough tour in November,’ he explained.
When probed about his international future, Burger said that he’ll ‘never turn down the opportunity to play for the Springboks again’.
‘I know Rassie very well and have worked with him for a long time. I’m not too sure about it [playing Test rugby again], but first and foremost I’m trying to play as well as I can for Saracens. At this moment, it looks like I might move on, but I don’t think I’ll ever say no,’ said Burger, who last played for the Springboks in 2015.
South Africa take on England, France, Scotland and Wales in November.
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