With just eight games remaining before the World Cup, the four-match year-end tour is crucial to South Africa’s cause at Japan 2019.
Bok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi, speaking to the media ahead of his team’s start to the year-end tour when they meet England at Twickenham on Saturday, said the tour forms an important part of their planning for next year’s World Cup in Japan.
“It is important,” Kolisi said, when asked about the goals for the tour.
“We only have four more games left after the end of year tour, so this tour is a very important one for us as a squad.
“We, as a team, have a plan. It is important, especially in terms of winning away.
“To put up a proper performance away from home is important.
“It will give us the opportunity to gain more experience playing together as a group and, more importantly, give us the chance to play every week in different environments and conditions.
“It will show us where we need to improve. It will test us as a team.”
Saturday will be Kolisi’s Twickenham debut, a moment not lost on the Bok skipper.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said.
“My Twickenham memories are just recent. When I was young I did not watch rugby, I did not have a TV so it was watching the Springboks.
“I also watched the guys when I was injured a couple of years ago. I was here for the World Cup, but I did not get a chance to play.
“Rugby is huge here. This is where it all started. It is quite exciting. I am really keen to play at Twickenham.”
Kolisi believes his team can expect a huge physical and tactical battle on Saturday.
“We can expect a hard set-piece battle,” he said. “They are playing at home in front of their Twickenham crowd who will be supporting them all the way.
“That is where the battle will start.
“Their pack is also pretty strong. That is where the game will be won or lost – the set pieces are vital.”
The Springboks’ series win in June does not make the South Africans favourites for Saturday.
“The last time we met they beat us in Cape Town, so we know it’s going to be a huge contest between two sides that will be desperate to win.
“England is a disciplined side and they believe in their system and processes. It has worked well for them and I expect nothing less on Saturday.
“We saw in the series back home that they know how to control the game and we are expecting a very good tactical game from them.”
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