Boks getting into the right frame of mind
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok loose forward Francois Louw believes that he and his teammates will have to be mentally strong if they are to beat the mighty All Blacks in Durban on Saturday.
The All Blacks have had an aura of invincibility associated with them this season and they are once again favourites to beat a developmental Springbok side in the final round of this year's Rugby Championship.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the tournament, the All Blacks exposed the gulf between themselves and their traditional foes with a 41-13 win in Christchurch.
That result might suggest the Springboks have little chance of knocking over the world champions this weekend, but for Louw, it serves as extra motivation for the showdown at Kings Park.
"They are definitely beatable, but to be honest everyone knows that they are playing top rugby at the moment," Louw told reporters in Durban.
"They are a solid force and they got good depth in their squad. It is a big game, there is no doubt about that.
"There is no way we can go into the game thinking they are unbeatable and us just being on the back-foot and just trying to survive. We will try and formulate our game plan this week and try and execute it to the best of our ability."
The Springboks have received a lot of criticism for their performances this year under head coach Allister Coetzee. The Boks have a 50 percent winning record in 2016 so far and they have already lost three games (all away from home) in this year's Rugby Championship.
Despite their record, Louw believes that they have shown a lot of promise in all of their games and they will be using those positives against the All Blacks.
"We have come off a challenging time. That last game against the Al Blacks was a tough one. We hung in there for 50-60 minutes and then let it slip towards the end.
"We have reviewed what we have done over the whole Championship and I think in this past weekend's game [18-10 win over Australia] we definitely found a bit of stride.
"It was still not the perfect match for us. We are a side that wants to continuously improve and I think in all the Tests that we have played we have shown moments of brilliance.
"In Test-match rugby, with the margins that are so small, you need to be consistent and execute effectively for the full 80 [minutes]. It is something we have not done, but I think this weekend [against Australia] was a massive improvement and especially going into Saturday's game against the All Blacks it is going to require another massive step up, which is exciting and it is where we want to be right now," Louw added.
By Warren Fortune, in Durban