SA will be looking to continue with the momentum gained after their shock opening defeat to Japan when they face Wales in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham on Saturday (October 17).
Since losing their opening 34-32 defeat to the Japanese the Springboks have beaten Samoa, Scotland and the USA, conceding just one try in the three games, to win Group B and set up a meeting with the Warren Gatland’s Welsh side.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday (October 13) assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher said South Africa will be looking to maintain the form they have shown since the Japan match.
“It’s massive for us. You look at Wales, a physical direct team, so it’s vital for us to keep continuity, keep momentum. What we want to take into the game is just the confidence of the last three weeks and we expect another physical game, a tough one but one that we’re excited about, we can’t wait for the weekend,” he said.
“I think the plan will be the same, nothing has changed, we’re still in the situation where we have to win so on the weekend there’s another opportunity for us to show what we can do. But what we want to take into the game is just momentum, confidence, and hopefully we’ll get another opportunity just to execute our game plan, but we’re excited about that.”
Wales beat a second-string South Africa 12-6 in a friendly in Cardiff in 2014 but the Springboks are bullish about their chances of revenge.
“I think they’ve obviously got some special players on their side. I think they’ve got some big strong runners but I think that we’ve got exactly the same and we’ve got the players to match that as well. So we’ll just focus on what we do well and focus on our game. I think we just want to get out there and play some rugby,” back Jesse Kriel said.
“Fast line speed, lots of numbers on their feet, putting sides under pressure with their defence and kick lots of high balls, lots of contestables which they chase down with huge intensity. So we’ll have to deal with all of that and obviously we’ll leave no stone unturned in our preparation this week to make sure we know exactly what’s required of us so that we can apply our own pressure on them and come out on top on the scoreboard,” added Pat Lambie.
Bryan Habana ran over three times during the 64-0 win over the U.S. last week to tie former All Black Jonah Lomu’s tally of 15 World Cup tries, earning plaudits from his team mates.
“I think Bryan is world class, he’s one of the best finishers in world rugby, as you’ve seen over the last few weeks,” said Kriel. “Knowing Bryan I don’t think he’ll be too worried about the record, if he does get the opportunity he’ll want to finish and I think he’ll want the best for the team and that’s to win. So I don’t think Bryan’s too worried about that, I do think he brings confidence to us younger guys, confidence to everyone, and I think he’s really a great player.”
“I’ve looked up to Bryan for a long time now, before I left school and since, and I’ve been very fortunate to play with him on a number of occasions. And I think he’s a great role model, a great example, not only for other players in the group but for the youngsters all around the world, I’m very privileged to have played with him,” Lambie said. – Reuters