Cape Town – Constructive aggression and intensity … that's what South Africa must strive for at the Stade de France tent this Saturday after their varied frustrations at Twickenham.
The game against the essentially moderate, eighth ranked French has become a "must win" in many respects: Boxes 2018 have slipped into negative winning percentages of terrain (45.45%) and another setback would increase the risk of the tour as a whole – with Scotland and Wales are still forward – the stomachs of a struggling time for the Southern Hemisphere's players even when things stand.
But these Box and their head coaches, Rassie Erasmus, Continue, despite the bumps on the road, to see an "almost very decent" outfit and you feel the public feeling is still a way to turn them into something pronounced.
A staff tweak here, greater accuracy in the performance of a well-meant movement there … Running look closer at a World Cup 2019 challenging outfit than they did a year ago, unless you're a diehard supporter of former mastermind Allister Coetzee and have a brilliant alternative to this.
Keep in mind that, as I wrote in the aftermath of the controversial 12-11 loss for England, the current national side is already a win better than they were after one of Coetzee's two-year spell checking and had a significantly better Rugby Championship, very recently than they did in 2017.
So all is not lost … but many will also start to significantly revise their opinions, you can be sure if they crash to the French for the first time in seven bilateral meetings.
Therefore, it is important that Erasmus, one of the faster and more aware of the outsiders out there, to channel the anger that most of his allegations probably know about the outcome – affects the Owen Farrell flash point in a rip-brick, focused and more polished as shown in Paris (22:05 SA time).
It is well within them, against another European side hit with injury problems and last played (in a three-test series) in New Zealand in June: they were duly knocked 52-11, 26-13 and 49-14.
They are on a four-match match if you add in their Six Nations closer to Wales in Cardiff (13-14), although the previous match had watched them down England 22-16 in Stade de France who would snap the Box – considering his own latest outcome against Eddie Jones fees – some kind of self-esteem.
South Africa led France 18-17 on their equivalent European tour last year, and despite falling backline, it was especially charged with players outside the green-and-gold radar (Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Francois Venter, Courtnall Skosan).
The current back division has a collectively lethal look and feel for it, but some cynicism on that perception would rightly be built if the bocks play other enemies this weekend.
It will be a surprise if Erasmus finds it difficult to motivate their men to the Parisian challenge, considering what went down on Twickers and the climate of injustice promoted by many neutral and even some English followers: lots of Bok Individuals had really good personal matches despite the backlash, both behind the pack and in the heart of the boiler room itself.
Likewise, it would be the reason for any wrinkles if the coach shakes the selection bag too violently later this week, albeit the main lock Eben Etzebeth is unfortunately low low again and Erasmus will have some opportunities for foreign-based players who have reasonably nice dilemmas to deal with.
The boxers saw massive commands for generous areas in the Twickenham conflict, as evidenced by a lot of statistical data, and if the error rate is held in the arena in game two, they should really be profitable.
Just another reason to think of "glass half-full" is that South Africa, on Saturday, did not give an attempt (and rarely really looked like doing it either) for the first time during Erasmus employment – what happened lately 13 Tests since they hit the mood Italy 35-6 in Padova last November.
But they can also, and especially given their incredible attacking lineout woes, pay more attention, as this tournament progresses from the well-known council recently at Sport24 from former coach Heyneke Meyer, who had an excellent record at the turn of the year.
Meyer reminded of the value of being prepared to "armbrat, grind play" in European conditions … and said it was often enough to kick the posts when opportunities were offered to build step-by-step scoreboard.
In retrospect, you are asking for a chance to kick goals from punishment in a thunder determined by a devastating point in London may have a look at some of the players and the strategists …
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