Etzebeth, Mapimpi treat game against All Blacks as Test match

Eben Etzebeth and Makazole Mapimpi have stated unequivocally that the team views the final Rugby World Cup warm-up game against New Zealand as a full fledged Test match rather than a preparation game.

South Africa will have a daunting task of defending the World Cup title when the global showpiece kicks off on September 8 in France.

They will begin their title defence against Scotland on September 10 in Marseille.

Ahead of the encounter against All Blacks, experienced Springboks lock Etzebeth said the team will give everything to win the match before turning attention to the World Cup.

“We are playing in the Springbok jersey at one of the top stadiums in the world against a team with which we share one of the greatest rivalries. So, this is not a warm-up match for us, it is a Test match,” said Etzebeth.

“We will give everything this week and we’ll then worry about the World Cup after the game. If things go well for us, it could also give us confidence going into the World Cup, so this is a massive game for us.”

Mapimpi, who was part of the squad that lifted the Webb Ellis cup in Japan four years ago, also spoke highly of the encounter.

“It is always a big challenge against the All Blacks, and we are excited to have this opportunity to play against them,” said Mapimpi.

“There is a chance we could face them in the quarter-final of this year’s World Cup, so this is an important match for us.”

Coach Jacques Nienaber’s troops come from the back of an impressive 52-16 warm-up win over Wales in Cardiff at the weekend, and will look to replicate the same performance against their fierce rivals on Friday.

The match kicks off 8.30pm (South African time).


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