Warrick Gelant tackling Handre Pollard during the training session at Ichinomiya field. Photo: Steve Haag Sports / Hollywoodbets
Warrick Gelant tackling Handre Pollard during the training session at Ichinomiya field. Photo: Steve Haag Sports / Hollywoodbets
Herschel Jantjies looks to tackle Willie le Roux during the Springboks' training session at Ichinomiya field Nagoya on Tuesday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports / Hollywoodbets
Herschel Jantjies looks to tackle Willie le Roux during the Springboks' training session at Ichinomiya field Nagoya on Tuesday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports / Hollywoodbets

NAGOYA – Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby, said the Springboks will not take their next Rugby World Cup match, against Namibia, lightly and emphasised that the South Africans can't afford to lose any more encounters in Japan.

Erasmus rotated the Bok squad for this 'African derby', which will be the second RWC encounter ever between South Africa and Namibia.

“Every match is a must-win game for us now and we are treating this match with the same level of preparation as we did New Zealand last week,” said Erasmus.

“This is a Springbok team that is hungry to play and show what they can do and the majority of them have had the chance to play as a combination together a couple of times this season.

“They’ve got an important job to do: you always lose momentum in a defeat and we need to regain that with a victory and a strong performance.”

The match will be only the third meeting between the countries, but Erasmus does not expect a repeat of the blow outs of the previous meetings.

The Springboks recorded a 105-13 victory at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on the eve of the 2007 Rugby World Cup; and the teams met for the second time during the 2011 tournament in New Zealand, with the Springboks shutting out Namibia 87-0.

Cobus Reinach gets away from Elton Jantjies during the Springboks' training session,at Ichinomiya field Nagoya on Tuesday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports / Hollywoodbets
Cobus Reinach gets away from Elton Jantjies during the Springboks' training session,at Ichinomiya field Nagoya on Tuesday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports / Hollywoodbets

“Already we’ve seen that the Tier 2 nations are increasingly competitive in this tournament,” said Erasmus. “Namibia held Italy to a 25-point margin (47-22) in their opening match and scored three tries in making Italy scrap all the way.

“There’s no denying, we’ll start as favourites but we’ll get a helluva shock if we think that’s enough to win the game. We have to treat all opponents in this tournament with equal seriousness, stick to our planning, bring intensity and then hopefully we’ll get our rewards.”

Frans Steyn, Francois Louw and Tendai Mtawarira all make second appearances against Namibia – having played in the Rugby World Cup meeting eight years ago – to provide a spine of experience to a team which has another five players yet to reach double figures in caps (Warrick Gelant, Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Herschel Jantjies and Kwagga Smith).

“There’s a good blend of serious experience and serious talent in this line-up and I’m looking forward to seeing them perform,” said Erasmus.

African News Agency (ANA)