Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
27 Oct 2021
10:35 am

Rugby World Cup just two years away, but focus is on the now — Am

Ross Roche

The world champions face Wales, Scotland and England in November.

Lukhanyo Am of the Springboks, right, says the focus on the UK tour next month will very much be on Wales, Scotland and England, with the World Cup just two years away. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Having missed the entire 2020 international season and with the 2023 Rugby World Cup just around the corner much of the talk around the Springboks has been on their preparation and building towards the showpiece event.

However Bok centre Lukhanyo Am claims the team is fully focussed on their current challenge against the home nations in their end of year tour, explaining that the players do not want to get ahead of themselves.

“We aren’t looking too far ahead, we are merely focused on this end of year tour and trying to prep as much as we can,” said Am.

“We have been completely off for just over two weeks in South Africa so we have had to re-gather as a group and try prepare as much as we can and just get a feel for the atmosphere and environment up north.

“So from our side we are fully focussed on the tour ahead of us and we will take it as it comes.”

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The Springboks have had an up and down season so far, with their British and Irish Lions series win followed by a third place finish in the Rugby Championship, which included two losses against an Australian team they were expected to beat.

However two good performances at the end of the competition against the All Blacks saw the team bounce back well, losing the first by just two points and then turning that result around to claim a two point win which will have given the players a massive confidence boost to take into the UK tour.

“We are in a good space after the Rugby Championship even though a few of the results didn’t go our way,” said Am.

“I think finishing off like that (win over the All Blacks) was a huge confidence booster going into the end of the year tour. So we are really in a good space currently and we are going to stick to our strengths and prepare for this tour as much as we can.”

With the Boks taking on Wales, Scotland and England the tour will have an added bite to it with many of the home nations players having featured for the Lions team that went down in SA and the home nations will be eager to rectify that.

England in particular will be a massive encounter with it the first meeting between the two sides since the 2019 World Cup final.