Jacques Nienaber has championed the heroics of Malcolm Marx on the eve of the 2019 World Cup winner’s 50th Test cap for the Springboks on Saturday.
“He is a true warrior, and he epitomises what we stand for as the Springboks,” said Nienaber, who promoted Marx to the starting XV in place of Bongi Mbonambi for the opening clash of the Rugby Championship with the All Blacks.
“We are preparing for a challenging Test which will be vital in setting the tone for our Rugby Championship campaign this year. The occasion will be so much more special for Malcolm if we win the Test.”
Nienaber anticipates New Zealand to come out guns blazing at the Mbombela Stadium, and again at Ellis Park a week later, adding that the world champion Boks expect a bigger onslaught from the Kiwis as any in the past.
“The Springboks and All Blacks have a unique rivalry, and we always bring the best out of one another,” he said.
“They will play a different style of rugby to Wales, and we have been preparing for that, and they have fantastic skills in their backline.
“We had our review of the Wales Tests and we know where we need to improve. This week our focus is more on New Zealand and the areas of the game that we feel will be vital to give us the best possible chance to start the series on a positive note.
“New Zealand have always tested us to the limit, and it will be no different in the next two weeks.”
Photo: Darren England/EPA