Assistant coach Matt Proudfoot says the Springboks cannot afford to go into a clash against the All Blacks with a defensive mindset.
The All Blacks look set to claim yet another Rugby Championship title after scoring two big wins over the Wallabies as well as a resounding victory against Argentina. They will head into the next game against the Boks as overwhelming favourites.
The Boks are coming off two losses to Argentina and Australia. Their attacking play has left a lot to be desired, and it would surprise to see them troubling the All Blacks defence on Saturday.
Speaking from the team’s base in Wellington on Tuesday, Proudfoot confirmed that the Boks will endeavour to match the All Blacks. He also predicted a free-flowing game at the Cake Tin.
‘The All Blacks are the highest carrying team and you’re not going to come here and defend that,’ he said. ‘You’ve got to attack that. That’s got to be our philosophy that we believe we can carry as much as they can.’
The assistant coach conceded that the coaches, as well as the players, are under pressure following their disappointing results in Mendoza and Brisbane.
‘We realise as coaches and management – and this is driven by Rassie [Erasmus] – that if we have to get fired for an individual loss or series of losses, then so be it. We started a process that will develop a team that’s competitive at the World Cup and represents South Africa as a nation united, that’s what this squad is about.’
Proudfoot feels that a good performance against the All Blacks would be cause for celebration. For now, the group won’t let the criticism impact their preparations.
‘We hear it, obviously you listen to it. For all the people who criticise, there are people supporting us. I can show you my phone and the messages of support we get from past players, “just stick with what you’re doing”.
‘Mistakes are going to happen when you’re developing a side. Every second half has been above our opponents and that’s effort. We will get the execution right the more experience this team gets.’
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