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Ken Borland

Like the wife behind every successful husband, Boks want a big Loftus crowd behind them

Posted on August 08, 2022 by Ken

Everyone knows the saying about what is behind every successful husband, and the Springboks are really looking forward to having a capacity Loftus Versfeld crowd behind them as they return to action in the first Test against Wales in Pretoria on Saturday.

By late afternoon on Monday there were only a couple of thousand tickets still available for the 52 000-seater stadium that is considered one of the cathedrals of South African rugby. Saturday’s match will be the first time the Springboks have been able to play in front a capacity crowd at home since their 2019 World Cup triumph.

“We are very excited to be playing in front of our home crowd,” assistant coach Deon Davids said on Monday. “It’s also important for us to say thank you for all their support after the World Cup win.

“We want to feed from their energy on Saturday and reward them with the way we play. It’s a special occasion for us.

“Playing at Loftus, altitude is always a factor, but visiting teams have also evolved in terms of coping with it. Wales would have done lots of research on how to deal with it.

“I believe they will be conditioned well enough to hang on in there and that’s what Wales do – they stay in the fight until the last minute,” Davids said.

The Springboks will announce their team on Tuesday and Davids did not want to be drawn on selection matters, while sending a reminder that the Springboks have winning as a priority, along with giving exciting new players the sort of exposure at international level that the fans are clamouring for.

“We are working towards a bigger picture, which is next year’s World Cup,” Davids said. “But it’s also important for us to win our games and give ourselves the best opportunity of doing that.

“So it’s important to get the balance right between the importance of giving young players opportunity, building combinations and ensuring victory.

“We’re under no illusions – it’s going to be a tough series – and we have had some discussions, we’ve looked at what we want to achieve in this Test. We’re looking at a combination we feel can give us a result.

“It’s also about how you prepare the next 23 of players, get them aligned with how we are doing things differently at the Springboks. Success is also measured in how quickly we can get them aligned and get our combinations right,” Davids said.

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