CAPE TOWN – Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth says they have a point to prove when they host the All Blacks at Newlands on Saturday after taking 57 points against the Kiwis in Albany three weeks ago.
Speaking after the team announcement at the team hotel on Thursday, Etzebeth said that they’re aiming to rectify the mistakes they made in the record defeat – one of those mistakes being not looking after the ball.
“Taking 50 points is not easy, so we definitely have a point to prove, and we’ll be looking to rectify our mistakes this week,” the Bok lock said.
“They’re very good on the counter-attack, so we’ll be looking to keep the ball and not give any 50-50 offloads.”
Etzebeth also said that it’s a challenge to motivate the team if the opposition tries keep rolling in, as was the case against the All Blacks a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s not nice standing behind the poles. After a while, the message gets difficult and the guys start thinking about the score. So I think the best is just to get a better start and not to be behind with two tries. We did all the work early on and they scored from turnovers,” he said.
Another lock who had something to say about producing an improved performance was Lood de Jager.
De Jager, who will make his first Test start of the season with Franco Mostert on the bench, said they shouldn’t worry about the All Black threats too much, but rather on what they can control.
“I’m definitely excited, it’s been a while since I started and it’s a big match, so hopefully we can do well,” De Jager said.
“We’ve prepared well, and I think so have they, so we just want to go out and execute what we planned very well. I think we just need to focus on what we can control and execute as well as we can.”