New Springbok captain Fourie Du Preez implored his team to keep building momentum from their victory over Samoa last weekend when they face Scotland in Newcastle on Saturday. Du Preez, the SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2006 and 2009, was named to captain the Springboks at St James’ Park on Saturday in this crucial Pool B match against a resurgent Scotland side. The Scots won their first two Rugby World Cup matches by big margins against Japan and the USA respectively and currently top the pool.
The Springboks are second following their defeat against Japan and comprehensive victory over Samoa. Du Preez says: ‘We were really with our backs against the wall last week and the match against Samoa was probably one of the most pressured games I’ve ever been involved in. But every member of the squad stood up and we got a good win against Samoa. However, that hasn’t changed the position we’re in this week and I’m expecting the same of every guy, to put in the same performance as we did last week.’ Du Preez, who made his Test debut against Ireland in Bloemfontein in 2004, was humbled when he was named to be South Africa’s 56th Springbok captain on Wednesday.
He says: ‘I’m not one for many words so I’ll lead from the front on Saturday. Luckily we have guys such as Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen to back me up, as well as a lot of experience across the team. I’m really grateful for this opportunity. A few months ago I thought my rugby career was over, and a few weeks ago I didn’t think I was even going to be here in England today. But life sometimes takes funny turns so to sit here as captain is unbelievable for me.’