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Faf not bothered if All Blacks field C team against the Boks

Scrumhalf insists SA will prepare the same way as they have things to fix

Liam Del Carme Sports reporter
Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk.
Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk.
Image: EPA/Kim Ludbrook/Backpagepix

It doesn’t matter if the All Blacks select a C team for Friday night’s clash against the Springboks at Twickenham insists Faf de Klerk.

The Springboks, who trounced Wales 52-16 in their second-last warm-up Test in Cardiff on Saturday, meet their greatest foes in London before setting course for France where they will try to defend their Rugby World Cup crown.

The match should not lack a sense of occasion.

Like the Boks, the All Blacks are three-time World Cup winners; they won this year’s Rugby Championship, which has helped stretch their unbeaten run to 11 matches.

There is, however, talk coach Ian Foster will rest some key players ahead of their arrival in France.

He may have sound reasons for not selecting his heavy hitters. Some big name players have already been injured ahead of the World Cup and he may not want to reveal too much tactically against a team they may encounter in the quarterfinals of the big event.

De Klerk said it doesn’t matter which team the All Blacks field.

“It is still a Test match. We are going to prepare for it like any other game. It doesn’t matter who we play. We are going to prepare the same and make sure all our boxes are ticked, like we do every single week,” the scrumhalf explained.

“We want to make sure we get our stuff right. If they want to do something different that is up to them. We want to focus on ourselves and there are a few things we want to fix and make sure we are ready for the World Cup.”

Apart from getting a big confidence booster ahead of the World Cup, Friday’s match offers the respective coaches the opportunity to do a proper dress rehearsal before the tournament kickoff on September 8.

The Boks will want to avoid another defeat against the All Blacks this year after they went down to them in Auckland last month.

“I don’t think there would a point to prove in terms of the scoreline,” said De Klerk, the player who often helps set the Boks’ rhythm and tempo, when asked if the Boks would want to avenge that 35-20 defeat.

“I think there is a point to prove for ourselves. We had a very disappointing first 20 minutes. After that things started coming together. We started playing well and were our physical selves.

“Rectifying mistakes we made against them is the point we want to prove, not to them but to ourselves. To show we can go from the beginning.

“Making sure we win that game will be our first and main goal but making sure we are in the right frame of mind.”

De Klerk was enthused about the way the Springboks played in the last quarter of that game.

“They are considered a great side in the last 20 minutes but we showed we can do that in the last 20 minutes. We just need to sharpen up on those little things. In the last three games we have done that.

“Whenever you play the All Blacks you want to make sure you give a bit extra to get the win.”

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