Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende have forged an outstanding midfield partnership for the Springboks. Picture: SPRINGBOKS/TWITTER
Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende have forged an outstanding midfield partnership for the Springboks. Picture: SPRINGBOKS/TWITTER

The feel-good factor from beating the All Blacks in their last match is something the Springboks will gladly draw from on their end-of-year tour to the UK.

After three consecutive defeats leading up to that fixture, outside centre Lukhanyo Am believes that much-needed win helped put the team where it needs to be before their assignments against Wales, Scotland and England in November.

“We are in a good space. Though the results didn’t go our way, I think finishing off like that in the Rugby Championship gave us a huge confidence booster going into the end-of-year tour. We will keep to our strengths,” said Am.

If winning has restorative powers after their punishing playing schedule and the mental fatigue that comes with prolonged quarantine and isolation, then the fortnight off before they jetted out to start their preparations in Paris, also had a soothing effect.

“Our off time was really good for us, especially mentally,” said Am. “The conditioning coaches got to manage us week to week. It was really needed, to be off. To meet your loved ones and do whatever you want. The boys are rejuvenated and really happy to see each other again.

“Coming to France was much better than it was in Australia,” added Am, who along with his teammates were in strict lockdown upon their arrival Down Under.

“We did our tests. Everything that had to be done was done by the medical staff. We went straight through. We didn’t have to go through any quarantines or isolation and stuff. It is a normal life,” he said about the team’s arrival in Paris.

Coach Jacques Nienaber also noted that “the break was good” after their unprecedented playing schedule and bizarre living arrangements on tour. He believes his team will be better for it.

“It is just unfortunate we had these consecutive matches. There was no regeneration between matches. But it is like they say, ‘things that don’t kill you make you stronger’,” said the coach.

The Boks will remain in the French capital until Sunday before heading to Cardiff where they have lost their past four Tests stretching back to 2014.

Strangely, they have in that period encountered Wales at three neutral venues. They won the clashes that mattered most in the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup in London in 2015 and Yokohama in 2019. They lost to Wales with an understrength team in coaching duo Rassie Erasmus and Nienaber’s first match in charge in Washington in 2018.

It is a win in Cardiff they now crave most.


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