Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss wants to remove the emotion from his final Test and focus on finishing South Africa’s troubled season on a winning note.
Strauss will retire from international rugby after the Wales Test on Saturday and although the Boks are facing challenges on all fronts, all he wants to think about is winning.
“It’s a massive test and all our energy is there,” Strauss said.
“The emotion connected to the game is the fact that it’s a Test. That is currently the only emotion I feel. I am usually calm, focussed and process driven before matches. Of course in the back of your mind you know it’s your last Test, but I believe the emotion will only kick in after the game.”
Strauss is fully aware that South Africa’s poor results this season have stirred up the nation’s emotional rugby supporters and doesn’t believe a victory over Wales will put a positive spin on the past year. South Africa have only managed to win four out of 11 Tests in 2016.
“Our standards are higher than that,” he said. “Everyone deserves better – the public, former players, our coaching staff and also the players. We expect more from ourselves.
“It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is wrong. A few things have to change.”
The Bok captain wasn’t prepared to elaborate on what exactly has to change. He said the time and place to talk about the issues would be after the tour when they were back in South Africa. The South African Rugby Union plans to review the season.
Until then the pressure is on a young, inexperienced Springbok team to beat Wales.
“Young players always bring a lot of energy, but you need accurate execution and good decision making. There were quite a few times this year where we lost to ourselves.
“Last weekend’s defeat (to Italy) was bad. We have processed it as a team and as individuals. We do realise the consequences of that and what it meant to South Africans. We also felt the pain.”