This was emphasised by experienced lock Lood de Jager and Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids on Monday, with both lauding the team for making the necessary step up to win the second Test by 27-9 on Saturday after going down 22-17 in the series opener.
Both agreed though that an even bigger effort will be required as the teams prepare to battle it out for the honour of winning the historic series.
“We had a comprehensive review of Saturday’s match, and there were things we did well and other areas in which we can improve, but as a collective we want to improve in every area of the game,” said De Jager.
“We were disappointed with what we brought as a bench in the first Test against the Lions, and it could have been attributed to rustiness, but we knew we disappointed ourselves and the coaches.
“We decided last week we needed to make things personal and to play for the country and the people close to us, and that fired us up.
“We are representing the whole country out there so we need to keep ourselves accountable and drive our standards, and hopefully we can maintain that going into the final Test.
“This is a final for us and the Lions. They are a team made up of world class players and we know we need to be at our best to beat them. As players we know we need to give 100% on the field to win this match and the series.”
Davids said the Boks were ready for the big week ahead and focused on the important task at hand at they returned to the training field on Monday.
“We are obviously pleased about the victory last weekend, but we have a big week ahead, so our mindset will remain the same and we won’t change much from what we did last week,” said Davids.
“The important thing now is to stick to our standards and try to improve our performance.”
Zoning in on the forward play from the first to the second Test, Davids said: “Comparing Saturday’s performance to our previous match, I feel the forwards responded well in terms of the challenges we faced and in the areas we felt we had to improve on.
“There was a step-up in up execution, which we needed, but as a team we will always look to improve and set the bar higher, and we are looking forward to the challenge this week.”
Davids was also pleased to have the experienced Duane Vermeulen back in the mix after he was ruled out of the first two Tests following surgery to his ankle and said as one of the leaders in the group, he added value on and off the field.
“It is fantastic to have Duane here with us,” said Davids.
“He already joined our review meeting and he’ll train with us today, so we’ll see how he does at training and make a decision (about whether he can play this weekend) tomorrow.
“He is an experienced player and the value he offers the team on and off the field is invaluable.”
Davids was also excited to have Jaden Hendrikse in the wider squad and said the exposure to the national set-up and the other Springbok scrumhalves would be invaluable as he looks to develop in his career.
“This will be a great opportunity for Jaden to learn from the other more experienced scrumhalves in the group such as Herschel (Jantjies), Faf (de Klerk), Cobus (Reinach) and to expose him to this level of the game, so that he is ready if he gets the chance to play at some point,” said Davids.