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No let up in pressure but Boks know path to success

A bonus-point victory at the Olympic Stadium would enable the Boks top the pool and advance from a group they were expected to dominate before the 34-32 loss to Japan in their tournament opener.

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That result sent shockwaves through the team and the country, and defeat to the U.S. could send them home early if other results go against them.

“We have had massive pressure in the last two weeks and it is still on,” Du Preez said.

“But we are also putting pressure on ourselves (to perform), at least now we know the way we want to go and what is successful for us.”

With just four days turnaround time from their 34-16 victory over Scotland, Du Preez admits that a good start is vital for the Boks, who do not want to have to find reserves of energy going into the final 20 minutes.

“In any game it is vital to start well, but given that we pretty much have had the same starting line-up for the last two weeks, if we don’t get a good start we will have to adapt,” he said.

“We were under a bit of pressure last week against Scotland and there were times when things did not go our way. But the guys fought through that.

“But this time round we would love to be in a comfortable position going into halftime.”

In Du Preez the Boks have a skipper with a calm head, a player who lets his actions, rather than words, do the talking on the field.

Since being handed the captaincy by coach Heyneke Meyer after Jean de Villiers exited the tournament with a fractured jaw and second-choice Victor Matfield was sidelined too, Du Preez says he has enjoyed the experience — sort of.

“So far I have enjoyed it,” he said. “I don’t enjoy media conferences and these speeches, but as soon as I get onto the field I love it.

“I enjoy having an influence on the guys around me and I have got great guys next to me, so I don’t have to say too much.”

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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