Despite scoring a try against England, Sbu Nkosi feels he can get even better against France on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Despite losing a close game to England at Twickenham last weekend, the Springboks remain a confident bunch ahead of facing France in Paris on Saturday.

Wing Sbu Nkosi said “morale” was high in the team going into the Boks’ second match on tour.

“We learned from the mistakes we made against England,” he said on Thursday.

“We played in the right areas of the field, but didn’t convert our chances... that’s what the emphasis has been on this week, finishing off our chances.

“The morale is high still... and the leaders are keeping the boys motivated.”

Asked if he thought the Boks would beat France, he said: “Of course, the only plan is to win when you go into a Test match.”

Regarding his own form, Nkosi, who only returned to the team last week after nursing a long-term injury, said he was far from happy with his performance against England.

“I wasn’t particularly happy with how things went last week.

“I was lacking in a few areas, so am grateful to get another opportunity this weekend to polish up my performance. I know I need to step it up and be better.”

Prop Steve Kitshoff, who played for two seasons at Bordeaux in the Top 14, said it was nice to be back in France, but that the Boks were definitely not on a holiday.

“It’s always fun being back in France. They’ve got a great culture and there’s the food, but it’s important we focus on the rugby.

“This is a big Test for us... we’re not here to enjoy ourselves, we’ve got a job to do, and we want to do it well.”

Both Kitshoff and Nkosi spoke about the Bok set-up under Rassie Erasmus this year as opposed to last year when the team, under the guidance of Allister Coetzee, just edged France.

Kisthoff said the team were in “a good state of mind”.

“We’re preparing well each week, and all the players know their roles and responsibilities. Also, coach Rassie places a lot of emphasis on the leadership, who take charge of the team.

“We’re in a good head space... we know what to do, and know our plan, so that on the weekend, we just have to execute to get the victory.”

Nkosi said Erasmus and defence coach Jacques Nienaber had worked hard to make the players “smarter”.

“South Africa has always managed to produce technically astute players, but what coaches Rassie and Jacques have done... they’ve brought in a tactical part, to make us smarter players.

“They’ve taught us to think a few phases ahead rather than on what is in front of us only.

“They’ve also let the players take ownership of the game plan... the coaches lead the environment, but it is the players who are driving it.”


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