Success in Europe vital for Boks
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Winning away from home in Europe will be vital for the Springboks' progression, especially as the 2019 World Cup draws nearer.
There were signs of improvement in the Boks' performances this year, but there are aspects of their game that are still a bit behind some of the other top nations.
Allister Coetzee's side showed encouraging sides in their 24-25 loss to the All Blacks a few weeks ago and they will need to build on that by proving they can get the better of some of the Northern Hemisphere's top nations.
There is also the fresh memory of last year's end-of-year tour where the Boks failed to win a match, which included an embarrassing 18-20 defeat to Italy. It's a memory and experience that the Boks can use as motivation.
"The big thing is you have to win Test matches for South Africa, although we focus on the process rather than the outcome and the players understand that," said Coetzee.
"But the big thing is really to kick off on a positive note.
"The second thing for me, which is important, is to keep what has worked for us up until now.
"Our team environment has been really special, so it’s a work in progress. You got to make sure that whoever [new players] comes in has got to fall in and tow the line and that we keep working hard.
"That is non-negotiable - our work rate and the intensity at which we train, those are the small battles that we have to keep winning. I am sure the end-of-year tour this time around will be an enjoyable one.
Coetzee added: "Players must use this as another opportunity to grow as a team and become better as a team and the big thing for me it is to make sure we win close matches.
"We have been in three close games this rugby championship and we didn't get the result. We drew two of them [against Australia] and we lost the one [against the All Blacks at Newlands] and the important thing for me is to get the right result when it is tight."
The Springboks kick-off their end-of-year tour against Ireland on November 11, which will be followed by matches against France, Italy and Wales.