Physical dominance and breaching the advantage line. Those are the key markers laid down by Springbok captain John Smit as his team gears up for the first of three matches on their year-end tour of the United Kingdom.
South Africa face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, then follow it up with matches against Scotland in Edinburgh and England in London, on consecutive Saturdays, writes Jan de Koning for www.rugby365.com.
The constant refrain from the Bok camp the past fortnight has been how important this trip is in regards to building towards the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa next year.
And that is why Smit and his teammates feel that they have to hit the ground running.
“Obviously we’ll take it week, by week,” Smit said, when asked about the goals they have set for themselves.
“It is a short tour as well, which will help the intensity of what we can bring to the party.”
The big question is: ‘How do the Boks go about getting off to a winning start in their quest to win all three games on tour?’
“It will come down to the physicality of what we can bring to the Test matches,” Smit said, adding: “Whether or not we can dominate the advantage line, both on attack and defence.”
Smit said they had a reasonable idea of what to expect from the Welsh at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
“From a game point of view you can expect a similar attack from the Welsh team to that which we saw them bring to the game against us in the mid-year Tests,” the Bok captain said, adding that he expects Wales to be “a lot more effective” being on home ground.
“We can see that the Ospreys are having a pretty good season up to now, and that’s the majority of the [Welsh] team as well.
“[Warren] Gatland has had fantastic results and he’s got a rush defence that he’s putting into place, that certainly is a tough one first up,” Smit said of the Welsh challenge.
Although the Boks were reluctant to look past this week’s Test against Wales, Smit admitted England will provide a very different challenge.
“It is going to be a little more difficult in terms of what to expect from England, who are under the new management of Martin Johnson,” the Bok captain said.
“But there you can always take it for granted they’ll have a massive pack, a great scrummaging tight five and their basics certainly will be taken care off.
“From an attacking and defensive point of view, we’ll have to see what they bring.
“We’ll have to watch the videos once they’ve played a few games.
“We’ve got them last so we’ve got a little more preparation on them,” Smit added.Tweet