Shaun Edwards has described Loftus Versfeld as "the hardest place to win a rugby match in the world" at the moment, but the Springboks aren’t relying on the Pretoria fortress delivering them the win they need to clinch the Castle Series.
The British & Irish Lions saw the fervour that can be created at Loftus shortly after they arrived in South Africa five weeks ago when the Bulls blitzed the Chiefs to win the Super 14 title.
Now they have to take on a Springbok side that has five Bulls players in its starting line-up, including key men such as Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield.
“We are playing at the toughest place in the world to get a win at the moment and there will be a number of Bulls players who have just come off an incredible Super 14 competition. But that just makes the challenge all the more exciting” said Edwards.
The Lions have won three of their four Tests at Loftus and had the honour of winning the first international played at the venue way back in 1955. Maybe that’s why Matfield is cautious about talking up the effect of playing on his home ground.
“The crowd is a wonderful help. But as players you have to make things happen. The Loftus factor does not win you games,” said the Bulls skipper.
“You have to fully embrace the fact that you still have to go out and play rugby. It is the players who have to score the points.”