World champions South Africa are eager to test themselves against Australia and New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, said coach Jacques Nienaber.
The Springboks will play Australia twice in September, followed by two Tests against arch-rivals New Zealand as the southern hemisphere championship reaches its conclusion over the next month.
“It’s always nice to test yourselves against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. We missed out on it last year,” Nienaber told a news conference on Tuesday, referring to the South African decision not to participate in the 2020 championsip because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s phenomenal to play against them again. It was hard to miss out last year and it kind of left us wondering where we were in terms of our strength and ability.
“Pitching yourself against the SANZAR teams allows you to measure yourself, so we are really looking forward to playing against them.”
South Africa beat Argentina in two Tests in Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth, and top the early standings ahead of their next meeting against the Wallabies on the Gold Coast on September 12.
Fresh from a narrow series win over British & Irish Lions, Nienaber again defended his side’s emphasis on forward domination and kicking for territory, which turned the Tests against the Lions into dour contests.
“Each team has its own skills set and its own unique athletic ability. They all play towards the DNA of the team. That’s the beauty of rugby, there are different styles and ways to win Test matches.”
Nienaber said he expects the Wallabies and All Blacks to present a different challenge to that of the Lions.
“If you look at Australia and New Zealand, I think their style of play has a lot of similarities, a lot of movement, fast, quick, confident. They are quality sides with quality coaching,” he added.