Springboks

Boks still far behind All Blacks - Erasmus

Steve Hansen (Gallo)
Steve Hansen (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is more than happy with the direction his side is heading in, but he knows that there is still a long way to go before catching up to New Zealand's All Blacks.

The Boks have dished up two hugely encouraging performances against England over the past fortnight, with their attacking enterprise a highlight in securing a valuable series win. 

They now head into the third and final Test in Cape Town on Saturday with an element of freedom, and Erasmus has already confirmed that he will be making "four or five" changes. 

South Africa's recent form has seen them rise from 7th in the world rankings to 5th and there is certainly more national optimism as Eramsus looks to get his men in shape for next year's World Cup. The gap between the Boks and the All Blacks, though, remains significant. 

The real test will come later in the year when the Boks meet New Zealand twice in the Rugby Championship, first in Wellington (September 15) and then in Pretoria (September 29).  

"We're still way off the pace compared to New Zealand and some of the other teams, but we're slowly getting better," Erasmus told media in Cape Town on Monday. 

"On the field I think we've definitely improved in areas which we thought previously were some of our weaknesses.

"We're not great yet but I think the kicking game and aerial skills are getting better and, tactically, I think we are more or less getting better with the balance between attack and defence."

Now just three matches into his coaching tenure, Erasmus believes that one of the biggest challenges facing his side has simply been time together. 

"I think getting used to one another is probably the thing that takes the longest, because you have to be under different pressures: sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes on the field and sometimes tough times in terms of dropping players and understanding coaches and assistant coaches," he said.

"In terms of that, I think there is a better understanding of the way we want to work and operate and handle things ... everybody is doing their part."

The Boks have four more Tests before they meet the All Blacks in Wellington: this Saturday's clash against England, home and away fixtures against Argentina and a trip to Brisbane to take on the Wallabies.

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