Springbok captain, Adriaan Strauss, said the Springboks are determined to lay down a marker in their first Castle Lager Incoming Series Test against Ireland on Saturday at DHL Newlands in Cape Town.
The Boks embark on a new era under coach Allister Coetzee, who will be in charge of his first Test as head coach since his appointment as successor to Heyneke Meyer.
Strauss, in turn, will become the 57th player to lead out the Springboks as captain on Saturday, with the 30-year old Vodacom Bulls hooker playing in his 55th Test for his country.
Speaking to media on Friday, Strauss said the Boks had set their site on a good performance in front of the Cape Town crowd. According to the Bok skipper he and his team mates were looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s the start of a new journey for this team, so we definitely want to set down a marker and standard for ourselves,” said Strauss. “Of course the result will always be important, but it’s more about the way we want to play and the way forward.”Strauss succeeds retired centre Jean de Villiers as skipper and has cautioned his Bok team-mates not to underestimate injury-hit Ireland.
“Every player in world rugby who gets the opportunity to represent his country lifts his game. The Irish are a very proud nation and they will lift their game for sure, so we have to be prepared for that,” explained Strauss.
Bok coach Coetzee performed the handover of jerseys and the team also received a brief visit from the Mr Fikile Mbalula, the Minister of Sport and Recreation.
Mr Mbalula shared a few words of encouragements with the team: “The Springboks have a proud and successful track record and you inspire people when you represent your country. You always play with such pride and passion, and I want to wish you well against the Irish,” said the Sports Minister.
The match kicks off at 17h00 and will be televised live on SuperSport.