Stick: These are the games we live for

Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says the Springboks are expecting another epic encounter against an All Blacks side that has shown “respect” in their team selections.

Last weekend, the Boks were on the brink of what would have been a historic win over the All Blacks in the 100th Test between the teams, but a late penalty ultimately enabled the Kiwis to come away with victory.

It was a result that wrapped up the Rugby Championship title, but New Zealand coach Ian Foster has opted to field a powerful team for Saturday’s rematch.

“They are a good side, and one won’t get many chances against them,” Stick commented on Friday.

“Last week we were in the game until the dying moments, so we won’t change much, we just have to convert our opportunities into points. They scored one try against us last week, and we know they are very dangerous with ball in hand, so we need to deliver a good 80-minute performance.

“We also have to be solid on defence and ensure that our discipline is good so that we don’t concede penalties that could give them that three points. So, in essence we to be better in how we play the game.”

Stick added: “They’ve probably selected their best team even though they won the series already, and that shows the respect they have for matches between these sides.

“These are the games we live for and the ones we’ll remember in years to come, so we’ll do our best and try to make our supporters proud.”

Meanwhile, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi vowed that his charges would not give up in their mission to finish the Rugby Championship on a winning note.

Kolisi said they are “hurting” after three defeats in a row, following back-to-back losses against the Wallabies and then being pipped 19-17 by the All Blacks through a late penalty goal last weekend, and he added that the team were determined to finish the competition on a winning note.

“It’s all about the way we play, so all we can do is put in the hard work,” said Kolisi. “The attitude is there; we just have to take our opportunities and get the desired result.

“We are not giving up. I thought we brought the intensity last Saturday, but we didn’t take our opportunities, and we lost the match in the last two minutes.

“Our preparation this week has been good, although as a team we are disappointed with the results, but our focus is on finishing the tour on a strong note.

“There are people at home supporting us and hopefully our hard work on the training field pays off tomorrow.”

Kolisi said the team shared in the disappointment their fans were experiencing following three defeats, but he hoped that the hard work would pay dividends on the field on Saturday.

“It is tough for us as a team. We are hurting just as our fans are hurting because we are preparing well, but we are not getting the results. But we’ll keep working hard.

“All we can control is our discipline and attitude, and we will give it our best tomorrow. Only our actions will change how people feel.”

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Craig Lewis