'Soft' Boks remain positive
'Soft' Boks remain positiveSHARE
South Africa arrived in New Zealand ahead of the most difficult rugby assignment on the planet – still putting forward a united and positive front.
Following a disappointing opening three rounds of the Rugby Championships – which produced a win, a draw and a loss – life is going to get decidedly tougher for the Springboks when they front up to the World Cup-champion All Blacks on Saturday.
Their 19-26 loss to Australia in Perth at the weekend has done nothing to silence the critics – who have attacked everything, from coach Heyneke Meyer's ability to the Boks' supposedly outdated and predictable game plan.
Now they face their arch rivals, the mighty All Blacks, but vice-captain Adriaan Strauss said the Boks are looking forward to the challenge of measuring themselves against the world's best team.
Albeit a bit cliched in his responses, the Bok hooker said that they will be up for the challenge.
Like his coach and captain in their post-match responses, Strauss pointed to a few "soft" moments in the match against the Wallabies as the reason for the seven-point defeat.
He said that while a loss is obvious not ideal and they were indeed disappointed, he also felt they played "good rugby at times".
"There were some soft moment in the game … especially on defence," the Boks' vice-captain told a media scrum upon arrival in Auckland – where they will base themselves till Thursday, before departing for Dunedin.
"There were [also] one or two opportunities that we didn't use, but that is Test rugby and we let it slip."
He admitted they have a lot of work to do, but added: "We are still very positive.
"We are looking forward to this week, with a good week of preparation. We just have to look at ourselves, go to the training field and work hard."
Asked about facing the World Cup holders, New Zealand, in their back yard, Strauss said the Kiwis record this year speaks for itself.
"They've been good this year and it is always tough playing them, especially at home," the hooker said, adding: "They are a classy side, with great individuals – they play well as a team and it ill be tough.
"However, we are definitely up for the game.
“New Zealand are the best in the world and those are the types of teams that we like to play against. They are World Cup champions and they are the number one ranked team in the world, so it is good to measure ourselves against them."