Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth says his team is in a much better space than they were in this time last year ahead of their final match of 2017 against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
In 2016 the Boks went into the match against the Welsh off the back of a draw against the Barbarians and two defeats against England and Italy. The South Africans then left the United Kingdom winless, after suffering a 27-13 defeat in Cardiff.
The Boks’ 2017 tour started poorly with a 38-3 thrashing at the hands of Ireland, but they have managed to hit back with a scrappy win over France and a convincing victory over a rather disappointing Italian side.
“The team is in a much better state. Last year we didn’t have a victory yet, and now we have won two in a row and we will be looking to make it three wins from four,” Etzebeth told the media in Cardiff on Friday.
The start of December is normally about the time when most South Africans start to wind down, and head for the country’s beaches. However, the Boks have to spend one more weekend in the cold.
After a tough season most of the players and the under fire coaching staff are probably in desperate need of a break. However, Etzebeth said his boys are fired up for one last tough assignment before enjoying the steaks and the beer back home.
“It’s not hard to motivate the guys when you play for the Boks. Every Test is a special occasion and tomorrow will be no different,” the Bok lock said.
“This is the last game of the year and there are some stiff bodies out there, but training has gone very well and we looking forward to the match against a very good Welsh side.
“Saturday is another opportunity to play in the Green and Gold, and the next time the team will be playing is only in seven months’ time when England comes to South Africa, so we are going out to enjoy it and give it a great effort.”