South Africa captain Schalk Burger believes a win over New Zealand at Ellis Park on Saturday could provide them with vital momentum going into the World Cup in England.
The Springboks must win to stay in contention for this year’s shortened Rugby Championship, but can also make a big show of their credentials ahead of the global showpiece tournament starting on September 18.
After Saturday they have home and away tests against Argentina before they travel to England where they are on a collision course with the All Blacks in the semifinals of the World Cup.
“The World Cup is getting closer and for us we want to win as many games as possible and get some momentum. In sport, if you’ve got momentum it’s the easiest thing and it comes naturally,” Burger told reporters.
“If you don’t have momentum then you strive for it and look for it, and it’s quite tough to get. So for us it is important to get a victory.”
The 32-year-old, captaining the team for the first time after injuries to Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield, says his side must focus on their own performance and not buy into the hype around the world champions.
“We try to keep things as calm as possible, I don’t think in weeks like this you need extra or added motivation. The buzz around the hotel and within the team, it’s good enough,” he told reporters.
“We focus on our own game, at this stage of the week enough has been said about the All Blacks and it’s about us getting our ducks in a row and putting in the best performance possible.
“It’s a great occasion and for us it just has to live up to that,” Burger continued. “The Haka is about them laying down a challenge to us and we must accept the challenge.”
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer sprung a surprise when he handed a first test cap in four years to flank Heinrich Brussouw alongside fellow openside loose-forward Francois Louw. Burger thinks it is a combination that can work well.
“Traditionally they are both openside flankers but both of them like to be involved in more facets than just fetching. They want to carry the ball and play.”
The World Cup takes place from September 18 to October 31, where South Africa have been drawn in Pool B, alongside Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the United States.
Credit To Super Sport