Boks aim to fix mistakes made in Auckland in outing at Twickenham — Stick
It's the Boks' final World Cup warm-up game and there's plenty the coaches will be keeping an eye on in London.
The Springboks face the All Blacks at Twickenham on Friday. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
The Springboks will take on the All Blacks on Friday night at Twickenham Stadium in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match, and their assignment is clear: They need to fix the mistakes they made in their previous encounter against New Zealand in Auckland in the Rugby Championship.
Last month the Boks lost 35-20 to the All Blacks; their performance on the day was poor and sluggish, especially in the opening 20 minutes when they went down 17-0.
Since then, the team have steadily built momentum, with players gaining match fitness, but that poor start in Auckland remains at the back of the Bok players’ minds and Friday’s game presents a chance for redemption for the players.
The coaching staff will also be looking for answers and some sort of reaction from the players in London and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said they want to see how the team starts, how they perform physically and how their kicking game goes — all areas that were off the last time out against the All Blacks.
“When we played in Auckland there were mistakes that we made; the way we started the match, I don’t think that’s the intensity we wanted to start a Test match,” Stick told the media ahead of the Twickenham clash.
“When you play an All Blacks side, you cannot make mistakes like that, especially when the game has just started and we were punished there.
“How we played physically, I don’t think we executed how we wanted to play. The All Blacks pitched up in how they played physically in that match. Our kicking game also didn’t function well in that game, so we want to fix that.
“As the Springboks, we pride ourselves in our kicking game and physicality, so we have to make sure we fix that, and when the game starts, we have to make sure we pitch up,” he said.
Strong All Blacks team
The Boks will be up against a formidable All Blacks outfit selected by Ian Foster, with the backline especially formidable, and it will be a good test for the largely inexperienced Boks backline.
However, Stick is confident his troops can deliver on the day and win the match.
“If you look at what they have selected, they selected what’s close to the best possible team they could,” said Stick. “But we also selected a team that’s good enough to perform on the day and win for us.
“Playing against the All Blacks is always going to be tough, and again for these guys, they will be able to measure themselves to see if they’ve got what it takes to go all the way when they go to the World Cup and perform,” he said.