Du Preez inspires Boks

Fourie du Preez has provided the Springboks with some direction and inspiration on the eve of their must-win match against the Wallabies, reports JON CARDINELLI in Pretoria.

The Boks find themselves in a desperate position. They’ve lost four of their seven Tests in 2016, and their last three in a row. They need to bounce back against the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

On Friday, former Bok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez handed out the jerseys to the team. Du Preez offered some words of encouragement as well as some advice.

‘It was massive to have him here with us at this time,’ said Bok captain Adriaan Strauss. ‘He’s someone that I have a lot of respect for as a person and as a rugby player.

‘Obviously we’re in a bit of a tough spot. He spoke about that and how we are going to get out.

'He spoke about us maintaining our composure, about focusing our energy and making the right decisions and the right times. His message had a big impact on the team.'

Strauss admitted that it has been a tough four-week period for the players. The Boks went down 26-24 to the Pumas to sustain their first-ever loss in Argentina. They lost 23-17 to the Wallabies in Brisbane, and then 41-13 to the All Blacks in Christchurch. The latter result marked their heaviest defeat in five years.

‘We do take it personally,’ the Bok captain said. ‘But we will have to get over it and focus on getting the job done this Saturday.

‘We’ve played good rugby at times this season. The problem is that we haven’t put in an 80-minute performance as yet. It’s fair to say that at times we’ve been playing against ourselves.

‘We need to cut out the errors this weekend. We need to get into the right areas of the field and then turn opportunities into points.’

Coach Allister Coetzee has opted for players at No 9, 10 and 15 who have the kicking skills to win the territorial battle. Strauss expressed his confidence in the talents of Rudy Paige, Morné Steyn and Pat Lambie ahead of the battle against the Wallabies.

‘Morné and Pat have been there and done that so many times before. They are capable of making the right decisions at the right times. They have shown that they can play in the right areas and can handle the pressure of taking those big kicks for posts.’

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli