Boks on the ropes, but upbeat in Wellington
Brisbane — The Springboks arrive in Wellington on Monday with their backs to the wall and well aware they have to produce something special if they are to get the better of the All Blacks in New Zealand on Saturday.
There is no denying that coach Rassie Erasmus’s charges are desperate for a win after successive defeats to Argentina and Australia in the Rugby Championship tournament.
Faf de Klerk maintained a brave face after the defeat to Australia on Saturday and insisted the All Blacks, who have only lost one Test match at home since 2009, are beatable.
"They are definitely beatable, but it is going to be tough, especially playing away from home," De Klerk said.
"No matter who comes in for them, they are a great team and the next guy is good but we want to beat them and make the country proud.
‘‘Hopefully we can go out and do that. They have weak points and Australia exposed them in their recent matches."
In the defeat to Australia, the Boks recovered from 7-0 down in the first three minutes to lead at halftime by a point. De Klerk said they would use the coming days to correct some of their mistakes and take the fight to New Zealand on Saturday.
"Definitely, we can turn things around because a week is a long time," he said.
De Klerk said they would have to be physical and keep the ball going to avoid unnecessary knock-ons if they were to beat the world champions.
"We need to respect the ball a bit more and we need to keep it," he said. ‘‘When we have turn-overs, we need to take control, and those are some of the elements that we must work on."
Erasmus added that they were underdogs against the best team in the world.
"Yes, it is daunting and they smash everybody, but we are underdogs," the Bok coach said.
‘‘I want us to get better and I felt that at stages in this game we were not better.
‘‘It is easier to go and play the All Blacks, not because they are an easy team but as underdogs people don’t give us a chance.
‘‘We will keep our mouths shut and prepare for them."