South African MMA fighter Dricus du Plessis will carry the flag ahead of the Springboks match against the All Blacks at Ellis Park.
Du Plessis has done South Africa proud in the UFC returning a 3-0 record in the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
The Springboks might want to channel the resilience of Du Plessis whose most recent UFC bout was a bloody war of attrition.
Dricus du Plessis to carry the flag for the Springboks
Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi expects a fierce backlash after they inflicted a 26-10 defeat on their rivals in Mbombela last week.
“We had a look at last week’s game, but we cannot dwell on that result too long,” said Kolisi.
“New Zealand are a very good team, and they are one performance away from turning things around.
“From our side, we had a good review of last week’s game, and we feel there is a lot we can still improve on.”
Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick shared that opinion and identified Richie Mo’unga as a gamechanger for the Kiwis.
The All Blacks are treating Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park with the intensity of a “final”, looking to secure the trophy before a likely five months on the road. Photo: AFP
“The All Blacks are a world class side, and with Richie Mo’unga at flyhalf they will be even more dangerous. He can mix up his game with kicking and running, so he will bring something different to the team.
“We know for a fact that we can’t switch off for a moment against them because they have world class players that can punish you. It is going to be a massive challenge, and we have to be at the top of our game to beat them.
“In my lifetime in the Bok team it is the first time we will be playing back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks at home, and we know it is going to be a massive challenge, but we’ll give everything to do well. We have a massive tour ahead, but we don’t want to look too far ahead.
“Emirates Airline Park is a big venue for both teams. I certainly will never forget the Rugby World Cup final in 1995 with Nelson Mandela in attendance and Joel Stransky’s drop-goal.
“The big factor for us, however, is to keep building and hopefully we can do that, and the scoreboard will take care of itself.”