Mood of excitement in Boks camp ahead of make-or-break test against Ireland

Bouyant captain Adriaan Strauss. Picture credits: Gallo Images
Bouyant captain Adriaan Strauss. Picture credits: Gallo Images

Bouyant captain Adriaan Strauss says there is a mood of excitement rather than tension in the Springbok camp ahead of their make-or-break test against Ireland on Saturday.

If the Irish win‚ it will be their first ever series triumph on South African soil and the Boks are expecting one “hell of a battle” at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

“We had a good week of training and the preparation has generally gone well‚” Strauss said.

“We have had a few tough training sessions and the intensity has been high and there was a fair amount of contact.”

“We were really hurting after the loss at Newlands‚ and we needed to get over it and we dealt with it. This is a very important test for us.

“I would say there is more excitement than pressure. We get another opportunity to go out there and play some rugby and we were excited about a couple of things in last week's win and we can build on that

“We need to stay in the fight for 80 minutes and it starts in the first minute.

“Last week I think we came out with a bang‚ we were good in the first couple of minutes and then‚ to their credit‚ Ireland really turned us and the momentum shifted and we could not get going.

“In the last couple of minutes we bounced back so it will be an 80 minute fight this time‚” Strauss said.

Meanwhile‚ powerful Lions loose forward Jaco Kriel says there will be no place for him to hide when he takes his place on the Springbok bench.

If Kriel comes on it will be his first cap and he is bubbling with excitement at the prospect of making his debut in the series decider.

"I have to show it and I can't hide now. Now I am out there in the spotlight and millions are watching you. With a good team performance I believe it will go well in the third test‚" Kriel said.

The tigerish loose forward says coach Allister Coetzee has always had a master plan.

"I believe coach Allister had a plan from the beginning and I backed him all the way in the team selections.

" He is a very good coach and from the start we knew it would be a squad effort and we have to back the squad‚" Kriel said.

"Waiting on the sidelines is worthwhile if it comes off for you. At the Lions we always speak about being patient and doing your job and we are at the Boks now .

"It has been an interesting journey for me and one that I have enjoyed lot. If get my chance I will have to deliver

"I believe that the hard work over the past few years has paid off. As I said previously I was very disappointed not making the World Cup squad last year.

"But there are lessons to be learned. I believe the time is right now and I am going to enjoy it."

Kriel said the players who came off the bench to power the Boks to a second half win over the Irish in Johannesburg set a great example for the rest of the team to follow.

"I believe we could have not have learned a better lesson than last weekend. If you look at the bench and the impact they made and the energy they provided in the second half‚ that is the benchmark of a bench

"I am very excited about the game. It is my first time wearing a Bok jersey and it will be unbelievable …. I don't think there can be a better feeling.

"Being in the squad has showed me how valuable the time is to learn from experienced players. Being in the team now‚ I have to showcase the stuff I have learned and the experience I have built in Super Rugby and all the games I have played‚" Kriel said.

TEAMS

South Africa: Willie le Roux‚ Ruan Combrinck‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Damian De Allende‚ JP Pietersen‚ Elton Jantjies‚ Faf de Klerk‚ Warren Whiteley‚ Siya Kolisi‚ Francois Louw‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Eben Etzebeth‚ Frans Malherbe‚ Adriaan Strauss (captain)‚ Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi‚ Steven Kitshoff ‚ Julian Redelinghuys‚ Franco Mostert‚ Jaco Kriel‚ Rudy Paige‚ Morne Steyn‚ Lwazi Mvovo

Ireland: Tiernan O’Halloran‚ Andrew Trimble‚ Luke Marshall‚ Stuart Olding‚ Keith Earls‚ Paddy Jackson‚ Conor Murray‚ Jamie Heaslip‚ Jordi Murphy‚ CJ Stander‚ Devin Toner‚ Iain Henderson‚ Mike Ross‚ Rory Best (captain)‚ Jack McGrath. Replacements: Sean Cronin‚ Finlay Bealham‚ Tadgh Furlong‚ Ultan Dillane‚ Rhys Ruddock‚ Eoin Reddan‚ Ian Madigan‚ Matt Healy.

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