Australia centre Bernard Foley believes South African rugby supporters should be patient with their players on the international stage.
Criticism has been levelled at the likes of Elton Jantjies and the Boks’ midfield combinations after a dismal start to the Rugby Championship.
However, inside centre Foley thinks it takes time for players to bed in at Test level and they will eventually come good for South Africa.
“One has to remember that guys need time to find themselves at Test level. If you look at the Springboks’ halves combination for example, they were very successful in Super Rugby, and they deserved a chance at Test level. But they are probably still trying to find their way and what works at Test level compared to Super Rugby. It’s very different,” he told the press.
“There are quite a few players at the start of their Test careers, and so they are probably still building that belief and connection that they had in Super Rugby as they try to transfer that to Test level.”
South Africa are now back on home soil after defeats to Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, who have now won 2016’s Rugby Championship.
Foley knows the feeling of being under pressure from an expectant public and thinks they will face an improved side in Pretoria on Saturday.
“It’s always tough when you go through periods of not winning games. I think for the Boks, there are a lot of new personnel and they have had quite a big change from the World Cup last year,” he said. “It is about sticking to what they know and finding the way they want to play.
“I’m sure every game they play together, the combinations will continue to gel and they will find more of themselves. What better way for them to come home and be inspired by being at home? We’re certainly expecting a hostile crowd at Loftus.”
He added: “Every home country demands a lot of their team and every team wants to be successful. Test-match rugby goes through ebbs and flows when teams are successful or not. You’re seeing two teams that are really striving to find that winning culture.
“The Springboks have probably not done as well as they would have liked recently, but we know how hard they’ll be working to rectify that. We expect them to be a different beast at home.”