Springboks: Milestone duo need a win on their big day

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

South Africa duo Lood de Jager and Damian de Allende say the team focus is on winning to celebrate Eben Etzebeth and Bongi Mbonambi’s milestones.

Etzebeth becomes the seventh and youngest player to reach 100 caps for the Springboks, whilst Mbonambi will run out for his 50th game.

Honoured to share the occasion

De Jager acknowledged the massive milestones for the two players but emphasised that it is crucial to match the occasion with a series win.

“It’s very special to play Eben’s 100th Test alongside him,” said De Jager.

“It is a special occasion for him, but it will be even more special if we can help win the match for him and Bongi.

“For us this is a final, the series is on the line and Wales feels the same way. We have big games coming up this year and next years as well, so it will be good for us to get used to pressure games such as these.”

Hard-running centre De Allende shared the same view as De Jager, underlining the importance of a win whilst commending his teammates on their impressive milestones.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play with Eben since Under-19 level and the way he ran over the other players back then showed the aura he has as a player,” said De Allende.

“We all know this is his 100th Test, but the team’s goals come first and hopefully we can get a good result so that he can celebrate this milestone in style.

“It is a massive achievement for him and Bongi, but there is a bigger picture for us as a team and that is winning.”

Physical battle

De Jager singled out the physical battle as critical to the result on Saturday, and he is expecting Wales to come out strong after two good performances in the series so far.

“In such big games it is always important to dominate physically, that is key in the result, and we are expecting nothing different on Saturday,” said the lock.

“Wales have good forwards, and they are big on their set pieces, so the battles are going to be big in the scrums, lineouts and mauls.”

The second-row did not fault the efforts in the first two Tests but believes the Springboks need to tighten up their discipline and build scoreboard pressure.

“The effort in the last two games was good, but I think we can be a bit more disciplined and get more scoreboard pressure. So, it is small things we have to work on. At the end of the day we need to be as disciplined as we can be,” he said.

De Allende claims the Springbok backline is close to where they would like to be and highlighted how small the margins are at the highest level.

“I think we are getting closer to where we want to be on the field of play, it is just small margins. The excitement and hunger are big in the group, and everyone is eager to give their best and get a good result.”

READ MORE: Eben Etzebeth: Springbok colossus destined for greatness as 100th Test awaits

 

The article Springboks: Milestone duo need a win on their big day appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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