Captain Brits warns Springboks not to underestimate neighbours
South Africa captain Schalk Brits has warned his side not to underestimate Namibia and make sure they avoid a World Cup shock in Toyota.
The Springboks are expected to have little trouble disposing of their African rivals in a second Pool B fixture today as they aim to bounce back from defeat by New Zealand.
However, having been part of the South Africa squad who suffered a seismic upset when beaten 34-32 by Japan in Brighton four years ago, the veteran former Saracens hooker will not allow any thoughts of complacency.
“We are making sure we are up for it from a physical and mental point of view,” Brits said.
“I was involved in the group that lost against Japan, so I know the feeling – when you should win and don’t.”
Brits is set to roll back the clock and play at No8 against Namibia, while fly-half Faf de Klerk will be rested as part of sweeping changes to the starting XV.
The 38-year-old came out of retirement to help Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus move the squad forward. “When Rassie spoke to me I was sipping cocktails in Ibiza ... so far, it has been a great decision,” Brits said of his international return. “I still believe we can do wonderful things in this World Cup.”
Namibia are ranked one place below Canada at 23rd in the world – with their squad including university students, a full-time banker, a brewery engineer and a qualified dentist. The 47-22 defeat by Italy in Higashiosaka means Namibia have lost all 20 of their World Cup matches to date.
Namibia wing PJ Walters, though, maintains they will be more than up for the challenge against one of rugby’s traditional heavyweights. “I don’t think any love will be lost,” he said. “We represent Africa together and it will be a great clash between neighbours.”