Durban — It stands to reason that an extra week together will help the South Africa ‘A’ team prosper when they go up against Bristol in their second tour game Thursday night at 9.30pm.
It was all a bit rushed when Thomas du Toit’s team played Munster in Cork last week after just two days of training and Munster’s victory was mainly due to a strong start by the Irish province,
“If you look at the second 40 minutes last week, the score was 7-7 and I think that gave us a good foundation on which we can build,” said assistant coach Joey Mongalo.
“It has also been good to see how the more experienced players, such as Cornal Hendricks in the backline and Thomas up front, have been working with younger players, and I think that will also stand us in good stead on Thursday.”
Du Toit added: “Having some extra time on the training field has also been good, as well as spending time off the field and getting to know each other better. We’ll definitely take more confidence into the game, and it’s now up to us to rectify the mistakes from last week and use the positives from that match to our advantage.”
The South Africans know their defence will be tested by a Bristol side that likes to run from all positions on the field, but Mongalo said they will be ready for it: “I’ve not seen a team that likes to keep the ball in hand as much as they like to.
“Munster was more of a physical game of attrition, and this week Bristol will probably play wider and quicker – Pat Lam’s teams usually provide an attacking threat, so we are expecting them to run back from restarts and take quick taps.
“They will be up for the game, but so will we, as we want to use the opportunity to deliver a performance we can be proud of, as well as our supporters back home. Yes, some of the players will probably join the Springboks next week, but this game is about delivering a team performance and building on what we’ve done the last 10 days,” added Mongalo.
Du Toit said that while the players have an opportunity to put up their hands for higher honours, there are more important things for the team.
“It’s about finding that balance between expressing yourself within our structures, but also to play as well together as a team as possible,” said Du Toit.