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WATCH: Springboks will match All Blacks’ desperation, says Deon Davids

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber with assistant coach Deon Davids during a training session in Cape Town

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber with assistant coach Deon Davids during a training session in Cape Town. Picture: Shaun Roy BackpagePix

Published Aug 1, 2022


Mbombela — The admission from the Springbok camp in Nelspruit on Monday is that if they hope to beat the All Blacks on Saturday in their Rugby Championship opener, they are going to have to vastly improve from their series against Wales.

The Boks have been in the Lowveld for over a week now in preparation for the back-to-back games against the New Zealanders and assistant coach Deon Davids says the players are under no illusions as to the magnitude of Saturday’s match with an under-pressure All Black team.

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“We need to be much better than we were against the Welsh,” Davids said emphatically. “We have been very honest in terms of where we think we are in various departments and how we can get better, and in every single area, a definite step up is required.

“We have to be realistic about who we are playing this week and how we played against Wales. We revisited our performances in our prep camp and obviously that is where the training sessions were focused — on the areas that went well and those that need a lot of improvement.”

Last week, new All Black forwards coach, Jason Ryan, spoke about the threat of the Boks’ principal weapon, the driving maul, and it is no surprise that brushing up on that area of the Kiwis’ game is a priority after Ireland enjoyed plenty of profit with their maul in their series win.

“New Zealand has emphasised that stopping our maul is a priority and we know it is going to be a highly contested and physical area of this game,” Davids acknowledged. “Their new forwards coach has done some very good work in this department with Fiji and obviously the Crusaders, but then we are also working hard on getting better in that area.

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“There is a lot of talk about how desperate New Zealand are to improve but we are also desperate to improve our game, be it the basics such as set pieces, playing in the right areas, or converting attacking opportunities. But it is also about the effort of the players — the intent of doing things was not always at the high level we would have wanted (against Wales).”

Davids said it is impossible for a Bok team to underestimate the All Blacks.

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“We are very task based in terms of our preparation for a Test match and no team is ever under-estimated, and it certainly will never be the case against New Zealand — history will tell you that our games against them are hotly contested, and we will match their desperation,” he said.

Davids closed off by praising the Blitzboks for their Commonwealth Games gold medal on Sunday and said the Boks loved watching the final, which saw Fiji outplayed.

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“Massive congratulations to the Blitzboks on a champion performance,” Davids said. “The way they played was typical of the character of SA teams in finals in that they were excellent in relation to their game plan, with and without the ball.

“It was an outstanding performance and they must know they made us proud. Their reaction after the win shows how much it meant to them, and they are an inspiration to us to strive to put up a similar performance.”