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Boks have to refocus if they want to get a historic win over All Blacks

Springboks players react after losing the Round 4 Rugby Championship match against the Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, on September 18. Picture: EPA, Darren England

Springboks assistant coach Deon Davids says it’s important that they not ‘dwell on things in the past’ as they prepare to face the All Blacks.

SPRINGBOK assistant coach Deon Davids says it’s important that the team not “dwell on things in the past” as they prepare to face the All Blacks in their 100th Test in Townsville on Saturday.

The Boks suffered back-to-back Rugby Championship defeats against the Wallabies over the last two weeks, a 28-26 one in Gold Coast and a 30-17 beating in Brisbane at the weekend.

Their latest loss resulted in them relinquishing their No.1 spot on the world rankings and all but ended their aspirations of winning the competition.

While the results in itself were disappointing, it was the quality of both performances that would have had the Bok coaching staff most unhappy.

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In the first Test against the Wallabies, their discipline was a big issue, so too was their defence, while they also struggled in the air. At the weekend, they were even poorer, with head coach Jacques Nienaber admitting that the game in Brisbane was their worst performance since they lost 32-12 against Argentina in Mendoza in 2018.

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Speaking during a media briefing yesterday, Davids said they will try to take the emotion out of it as they look to fix what went wrong against Australia ahead of the centenary Test.

“We understand and respect the rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand. But we have also learned from the past. For us, the only focus is to focus on our next performance. That is important for us,” Davids said.

“It’s important that you always look objectively at your performance in the previous week. You have to take emotion out of it and look objectively at the plan and how the plan was executed. So, for us, we didn’t perform up to standard. But now it’s a new opportunity to play against a quality side like New Zealand over the next two weeks. All the players are looking forward to that. Going into these games, we can’t dwell on things that are in the past.

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“The important thing for us is to focus on where we need to improve. Everyone is really excited to get going and to see that we prepare effectively to put up a better performance this weekend.” The forwards coach also confirmed that they have been boosted by the availability of lock Lood de Jager, but added that star wing Cheslin Kolbe is still in doubt.

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The Boks were without Kolbe for both their defeats against the Wallabies after he took a knock to his leg during a training session prior to the first Test against Australia. De Jager, meanwhile missed the second Test against Wallabies due to concussion protocols.

“All the players were able to train. Lood de Jager, who had a concussion, is back in training. So our players are fit and all of them were on the field training. Only Cheslin is in his return-to-training stage, so he is busy getting ready. All of the broader squad is available for selection this weekend,” Davids said. “Cheslin Kolbe is still doubtful. He is doing a few exercises, but he is still doubtful for this weekend.”

The Test against the All Blacks will kick off at 9.05am on Saturday.


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