A RELAXED and confident Springbok team arrived to a muted reception in Port Elizabeth yesterday afternoon after their heart-stopping win against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
With the series already won by the Boks after two victories, the players are determined to make it a whitewash by winning the third and final test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
EP Rugby president Anele Pamba said of the 50000 match tickets, “maybe 2000, if that” were still available.
Bok flank Marcell Coetzee and prop Keegan Daniel said yesterday they were excited to be bringing the high-profile match to Bay residents.
Speaking at the Garden Court Kings Beach hotel soon after their arrival, Daniel said the team were anticipating a lot of support in Port Elizabeth.
“There’s not much Super rugby that gets brought down here, so we’re looking forward to it a lot,” he said.
“It’s always a pleasure playing in the Friendly City.
“This is a great brand, and we get great support from our fans down here.”
The Boks have suffered injuries to three key players – lock Juandre Kruger, flanker Willem Alberts and fullback Patrick Lambie.
Kruger injured his neck, Alberts his knee and Lambie his ankle, all in the second half of Saturday’s game. Many rugby fans felt the resulting substitutions contributed to the tough going in the second half.
Daniel said he felt there had not been enough time for the team to become cohesive enough, but training and strategising in the week should give them the edge they needed to take on the English again.
“I’m not very happy with our second-half performance [on Saturday],” he said. “Still, this is the kind of game where you can learn a lot from bad performances as well as good, and that’s definitely what we’ll be doing here.”
Coetzee said the atmosphere in the Springbok camp was “fantastic”, and team members were becoming more in sync with each other’s playing. “We’re really finding each other,” he said.
“The last game was tough, in that there were three replacements brought onto the field and that broke the flow of what we were doing out there a little bit.”
In spite of the team clinching the series title at Ellis Park, they would maintain focus and deliver a strong performance for the last match, he said
The Boks won the first test, in Durban, 22-17 and the second, in Johannesburg, 36-27.
Today, they will hold an open training session at Grey High School from 3pm, with the public welcome to attend.
The team will sign autographs afterwards.