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Fourie du Preez takes pride in South Africa's recovery

By Andrew Baldock

Published 17/10/2015

Fighting back: Fourie du Preez focused after the loss to Japan
Fighting back: Fourie du Preez focused after the loss to Japan

South Africa skipper Fourie du Preez has backed the Springboks to stand up and be counted again today and continue their impressive World Cup recovery act four weeks after they were humbled by Japan.

Victory over Wales at Twickenham would take Du Preez and company into the World Cup semi-finals, which is a far cry from the desolate scenes that accompanied their 34-32 Pool B loss to Japan.

"It (Japan defeat) was a massive shock, but it could have gone much worse," Du Preez said.

"We had Samoa next, which was a very big battle for us, and then Scotland, who are on the up. We could have lost three in a row and we would have been the worst Springbok team of all time.

"We had to focus a bit more. There was massive pressure for us, and I am proud of how each member of the team and management stood up after that.

"We could either lie down or stand up, and I think that we showed that we stood up, and I think tomorrow we are going to stand up again."

Meanwhile, Neil Jenkins has stressed how Wales must be "on the ball and on the money" when they target glory this afternoon.

It offers Wales an opportunity of matching their World Cup achievement in New Zealand four years ago, when they were semi-finalists for the first time since 1987.

Wales lost 16 successive Tests against the Springboks before beating them the last time the countries clashed in November 2014.

Their only previous win came in 1999, when Jenkins played in the newly-opened Millennium Stadium's first international and helped his team claim a 29-19 success.

"We have come close an awful lot of times," Wales skills coach Jenkins said.

"We won in November against them, and we should have won in Nelspruit in that second Test last year, but we threw it away after being 30-17 up with eight or nine minutes to go and lost. It was quite hard to take.

"It just shows that when you play against any of the top sides in the world you have got to play for the full 80 minutes.

"You can't switch off at any time - you have to constantly be on the ball and right on the money.

"If we bring our 'A' game tomorrow, which we hope we will do, I am sure it will be a fantastic game. There is no doubt it could go either way."

Belfast Telegraph

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