Bok coach: 'It's critical for us to be in the now'
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber said his team will be in the right frame of mind for their final Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Boks have been in Australia for a while now, which started with a bubble period when they first arrived in the country last month.
They will be heading home after Saturday’s match and will have a short break before they turn their focus on the end-of-year tour.
Nienaber said his team will not have one foot on the plane home ahead of Saturday’s clash against the arch-rivals.
“I think there is excitement in the fact that it is almost at its end and I think the challenge for us is to make sure that we have two feet in Australia when we go onto that pitch,” said Nienaber.
“I have been with Super Rugby teams in the past where at the backend of a long tour you almost have one foot in South Africa and one foot in Australia or New Zealand.
“It’s going to be critical for us to be in the now. It [tour] has been long and it does take getting used to.
“This last three weeks we could move around and leave the hotel go have a coffee and that has been awesome. It’s almost like normal or a new normal.”
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Some players paid the price for nervy displays out wide in the face of a Springbok aerial bombardment. #RugbyChampionship #RSAvNZL https://t.co/GM5nu8rM53
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‘We are still building’
The Boks have lost their last three matches in the Rugby Championship, but Nienaber believes his team is still in a period of transition.
“When I got appointed in January 2020, the two big things that we were aiming for was the British and Irish Lions series and the  World Cup,” Nienaber explained.
“In saying that, all the other tournaments were important, but those were the two big ones that we had to put our focus on, especially the Lions because it only comes once in our lifetime as players and coaches.
“In 2020 were we going to start building and start evolving and almost get our foundation back, but then Covid struck and then we had no international games for 18 months. We went into the Lions series and we had to find a result there.
“We are still building up to where we were in 2019.
“We would like to get more Test experience into our rotational group going into 2022.”