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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

‘Boks on right track, but far from being final product,’ says Stick

"By the time we play against the All Blacks at Twickenham, we’ll probably be close to where we want to be as a team and how we want to perform."

Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says they’re looking to use the three warm-up games to work towards being the finished product before the start of the Rugby World Cup in September.

The Boks will feature in three Rugby World Cup warm-up matches this month; the first of which is against Argentina on Saturday night, then they take on Wales on August 19 in Cardiff, and then it’s New Zealand at Twickenham on August 25.

These matches, along with the three that have been played in the Rugby Championship, form part of the Boks’ pre-season ahead of the global showpiece in France.

‘Keep on improving’

The assessment so far has been that the world champions are not the finished product, that there are elements of their game that need processing, and these warm-up games will help with that, according to Stick.

“The key thing for us is to make sure we keep on improving on how we want to play the game, and also making sure that we give ourselves a good chance to have a strong foundation towards the World Cup,” Stick said ahead of the game against Argentina on Saturday.

“If you look at the way the All Blacks are going at the moment, they’re in a good space with momentum, which is good for them. The key thing for us is to focus on how we want to play the game and the style we want to achieve.

“We are rotating our squad players and we’re giving guys opportunities. I don’t think we are anywhere close to the final product of what we want to achieve at the World Cup, but I know for sure we’re on the right track.

“We have three games left before the World Cup, hopefully, by the time we play against the All Blacks at Twickenham, we’ll probably be close to where we want to be as a team and how we want to perform,” he said.

Argentina in Argentina

Although Saturday’s encounter against Los Pumas is officially an exhibition match, the Boks know there will be an onslaught from their hosts at Estadio José Amalfitani. For that reason, they will treat the game as a Test match.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Stick said.

“You can never prepare for a game against Argentina in Argentina and take it as a warm-up game. Mentally, I think we are treating this game as a Test match, especially when you’re wearing a Springbok jersey, we don’t take it lightly. I wouldn’t say we are approaching this game as a warm-up game, I think we are going full out as a Test match.

“As the coaching team it’s always nice to build while you’re winning, and that’s why for us it will be nice to win the game because it puts you in a nice space.”