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Rugby World Cup: Springboks won't go out to win? Preposterous!

Conspiracy theories have abounded since Ireland's shock victory over Australia last weekend, which resulted in the likely prospect of all three Tri-Nations teams being in the same half of the draw for the knockout phase.

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Nick Mulvenney

Updated: Sep 29, 2017, 04:50 AM IST

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To even suggest that South Africa might consider not going out to win a World Cup match in order to manipulate their quarter-final opponents was preposterous, Springboks assistant coach Gary Gold said on Wednesday.

Conspiracy theories have abounded since Ireland's shock victory over Australia last weekend, which resulted in the likely prospect of all three Tri-Nations teams being in the same half of the draw for the knockout phase.

The world champions are likely to top Pool D and will almost certainly face the Wallabies in the last eight, but Gold said there were no circumstances in which they might go out to do anything less than win and try to alter their opponents.

"It would be preposterous to even suggest otherwise, every World Cup winner in the past has won every game they have participated in the competition," he told reporters.

"That's a key significant factor to winning. We realise that, that's why the Springboks over the last number of World Cups have an 88% win record.

"Under no circumstances would it even be considered that anything else but winning right to the end is what's going to be required."

After a poor Tri-Nations campaign and a narrow win over Wales in their World Cup opener, South Africa really hit their stride against Fiji with a 49-3 victory in their second outing, one of the most complete performances of the tournament so far.

Despite that, and the 105-13 victory over Namibia in their only previous meeting, Gold said there was absolutely no complacency about facing their southern African neighbours in their third pool match in Albany on Thursday.

"We can't afford to take this game lightly, and I mean that in all sincerity," he said. "A lot of these guys know our guys, they know us more intimately than a lot of other people that we get to play in world rugby.

"Many of them play in South Africa, play club rugby in South Africa, some of them play provincial rugby in South Africa.

"These guys have got a point to prove, many of the Namibian guys are friends with our guys and pride's at stake. Rugby's in their blood as much as it is in our blood and they are going to come out and try to prove a point.

"You see it when teams get labelled as so-called 'minnows', for Namibia this could be their potential final. We realise that and we respect them for that."

Prop Gurthro Steenkamp was part of the squad that won the World Cup 2007 and said they had learnt then how important it was to approach every game as if it were going to be a major test.

"I think in 2007, it was a first World Cup for a lot of guys and they didn't know what to expect with the pressure and stuff like that," he said.

"We know now what to expect and you also know that every game is important and we haven't taken any game for granted or seen any game as an easy game."

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