If the plan to ambush the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday fails, it’s imperative that the Springboks are within striking distance in the final quarter, according to Brendan Venter.
“Even if the Boks don’t beat the All Blacks, the non-negotiable is that it is another fighting, competitive performance,” the former Bok assistant coach wrote in a column for Stuff.co.nz. “The critical aspect is that, with 10 minutes to go, the visitors must be within a score of winning the Test.”
The 2018 Boks came within one penalty goal of successive wins against New Zealand, following up a 36-34 win at the Cake Tin with a 32-30 reverse at Loftus Versfeld. Those results represented a marked improvement on a 57-15 defeat at Kings Park in 2016, and then 57-0 in Albany, the biggest defeat in Bok history.
Venter believes a heavy defeat would devastate Bok morale: “A runaway victory for the All Blacks… would be an absolute disaster for the Springboks because they have so many things in their favour at the moment. Besides their 35-17 win over the Wallabies, Rassie Erasmus was proactive by sending 13 Springbok players in advance to New Zealand to prepare for this all-important Test match.”
Herschel Jantjies scored two tries at Ellis Park on Test debut as the Boks registered their biggest win against the Wallabies in five years.
“South Africa had a bit of luck against Australia, with two of the visitors’ tries disallowed and the yellow-carding of Taniela Tupou, which came at a crucial time,” Venter wrote.
The former Bok centre also shot down All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s stated belief that the clash against South Africa has no bearing on the September 21 showdown between the teams at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“It has everything to do with the showpiece event because building belief is immense.”