A victory against England would see the Boks complete the tour unbeaten for the first time since 2013 following their victories against Wales and Scotland, but Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids and prop Steven Kitshoff expected a tight tussle against the hosts, who come off back-to-back wins against Tonga and Australia.
“England are a quality side and they have a good coach in Eddie Jones,” said Davids, who reported a clean bill of health within the squad. “It’s going to be a challenging game, and as a team, we’d like to build on the lessons learned in the Tests against Wales and Scotland.
“We know we have to be focused and task orientated this week, and we will place a big emphasis on our structures and systems.
“England will present unique challenges in different areas of the game, but we know where we need to improve, and we’d like to build on the momentum we achieved in the last two games.”
Davids added: “It’s always special to play against England at Twickenham and we are in a position in which we can carry some momentum into the final Test on tour and hopefully finish the year on a high note.
“It would certainly be a great reward for the players to finish off such a challenging season with a victory against England.”
Zooming into what England could offer in Saturday’s match, Kitshoff said: “They are a physical side, they can play with ball in hand, and they have a good kicking game as well as set pieces.
“We know what we need to do and we want to tick all the boxes we need to tick going into this match.”
With former Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot now serving as England’s scrum coach, Kitshoff said although he has an intricate knowledge of the Bok forwards the team has grown since 2019.
“Matt played a similarly big role to the other coaches in the team winning the Rugby World Cup in 2019,” said Kitshoff. “Obviously having worked with some of us from a young age (at the DHL Stormers and later at the Springboks) he knows us very well,” said Kitshoff.
“But that said, we’ve grown as a team in the last few years and we’ll be doing our homework just as they will going into this game, so we’ll go out there and do and do our best.”
The match may mark the last of what has been a testing season for the players following close to four months on tour from their conditioning camp in Bloemfontein in June until the conclusion of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and then a short two-week break before a the year end tour, but Kitshoff said the team were equally motivated going into this match.
“This is our last chance this year to make our presence felt and it’s a great opportunity to build momentum going into the 2022 season and to maintain our No1 spot in the world,” said Kitshoff. “This is very important to us, so we want to play as well as possible this weekend.”
As a regular member of the Springbok bomb squad, Kitshoff, who has formed a formidable combination with Malcolm Marx (hooker) and Vincent Koch (prop) said the replacement Bok front row had an equally important role to play as the starting front row in the team’s success.
“All credit to the front row of Ox (Nche), Trevor (Nyakane) and Bongi (Mbonambi),” said Kitshoff. “They bring the intensity in the first half, and every scrum is massive battle. When we come on the key is to maintain that momentum and try to build on it.
“The bomb squad has a lot of pride, and playing this role is part of the greater team plan, which is what comes first for us as players.
“Malcolm, Vincent and I are a tight group of friends and we understand what our role is.”