Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff has labelled his side’s upcoming encounter with England as South Africa’s most important test match of the year.
South Africa have had no shortage of massive games this year, having played the British and Irish Lions in a three-match test series as well as two tests against the All Blacks.
The Springboks of course won their test series against the Lions, and one won and lost one of their two games against New Zealand, with Australia the only side this year to be able to claim to have gotten the better of them across multiple games.
Kitshoff was speaking at a press conference ahead of the Saturday’s clash with England and stressed the importance of the fixture for himself and his team mates.
Steven Kitshoff on the upcoming test against England.
“England is always a tough, physical game. They can kick or play with the ball in hand, and have a great set piece. We don’t really look at past results,” Kitshoff said, via SARugbyMag.
“They have a very good contesting system. They have a good pack of forwards and a nice attacking brand with ball in hand. We know the challenges, but we also know their weaknesses.
“We feel that it’s the most important game of the season. It has been a tough, long year, but there is a lot of energy in the camp to get a good result.
“It is an important game for us to keep our number one spot in the world rankings until the international season starts again next year. This is a game of a lot of importance and it’s great just to go three on the trot.”
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 15, 2021
England aim to exact revenge on the Springboks.
South Africa and England haven’t played since the Springboks ran out as 32-12 victors in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, which should spur the English players on to get one over their southern rivals.
Plenty of English players were involved in the Lions’ unsuccessful test series against South Africa this summer, which will only add fuel to the fire for Eddie Jones’ men.
The Springboks fell into a mid season slump shortly after their triumph over the Lions, as they lost two consecutive tests to the Wallabies and one to the All Blacks, but they have returned to form since then having won their last three matches.
England should have plenty of confidence ahead of this weekend after they proved to be too strong for Australia, although they will be without their captain Owen Farrell, with Marcus Smith set to take centre stage as his country’s primary playmaker.