Frans Malherbe says the gloves are off as the Springboks look to rally from a shock defeat by Wales by clinching the three-Test series in Cape Town on Saturday.
The veteran anchor watched as a new-look Bok lineup featuring 14 changes from the first Test were stunned 13-12 in Bloemfontein this past weekend – a first win for the Welsh in South Africa since 1964.
The Boks also dropped to third in the official world rankings after France unseated the world champions as Test rugby’s No 1-ranked side.
Jacques Nienaber said the much-changed Boks provided management with “answers” on players, and that the risk of losing was worth the reward.
Malherbe, who is set to return to the Bok front row as Nienaber reverts to selecting his strongest XV, believes it’s his duty to restore the status quo at Cape Town Stadium.
Speaking at a Bok conference on Monday, the 47-Test-capped tightead prop told media: “We’re one squad and when you’re not playing it’s your responsibility to help the team as best as you can in the preparation in the week.
“The result [in Bloemfontein] isn’t the one we wanted but it’s our responsibility to rectify that.
“The situation is that we’re in this reality and as I’ve said, it’s our responsibility to be clinical in our preparation and be the best as we can be, and treat it as a final because it is a final.
“The teams are tied one all in the series, so Wales will enter the match with a lot of self-confidence. For us, it will be a matter of working on the areas of our game that we need to improve on so we can be more effective.”
While the Boks will be desperate to avoid a series defeat by Wales in the Republic, arguably the first real test of the 2022 season for the world champs is the two home Tests against the All Blacks to open the Rugby Championship campaign, starting on 6 August.
But, Malherbe has his eyes on the prize, the 2019 World Cup hero adding: “All the focus is on Saturday and the final Test against Wales.
“We’re not treating them as prep; it’s a proper series that we need to win on Saturday.”