PORTELIZABETH (Reuters) – South Africa’s confidence has been boosted after beating world champions New Zealand away but they still need to work on converting chances as they prepare to face Australia this weekend, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk said on Monday.
The Springboks revived their Rugby Championship campaign with a rare 36-34 win over the All Blacks earlier this month which injected new energy into the team after losses in Argentina and Australia.
De Klerk said the squad had always had a good spirit but lacked self-belief before the victory in Wellington.
“That win has really shown us what our potential is and it is good for the guys to realise what the potential they have. We have raised the bar now and now we need to go out and improve on that,” he told a news conference on Monday.
The victory lifted a burden off the players as they prepare to compete in this year’s southern hemisphere championship with return games against the Wallabies and New Zealand over the next fortnight.
“It gives the whole country belief in us and in the team structure as well so I think if we can back up that performances this weekend it will help us going forward to the World Cup,” De Klerk added.
“We are creating opportunities but haven’t been converting them – that’s partly inexperience or guys losing focus maybe.
“We’ve spoken a lot about the fact every week we have plenty of opportunities but don’t take. It was unheard of how many chances we had against Argentina and against Australia too.”
South Africa lost both those away tests in disappointing fashion.
“We need to be cut throat with all those opportunities. We know that, we are working on that, trying strategies to convert those chances. We are not playing bad rugby, we are just not getting over the try line,” De Klerk added.
Saturday’s test against Australia at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth is followed by a meeting on Oct. 6 with the Kiwis in Pretoria.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson, editing by Christian Radnedge)