Rassie Erasmus urges Boks to make strong play for Championship and World Cup
Coach determined Springboks must build confidence ahead of major events
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has warned his charges to guard against buckling under the mounting pressure and to make a strong bid for the Rugby Championship and World Cup titles.
Attempting to win the two titles in the same year is a tough ask but Erasmus said a triumph in the Rugby Championship in the coming weeks would build confidence ahead of the World Cup in Japan later in 2019.
“We desperately want to win the Rugby Championship because we haven’t done so for 10 years ... and we also want to win the World Cup‚” he said.
“This is a big year with all the different competitions in other sports going on and it is easy to get caught up in the euphoria‚” Erasmus said.
The Boks’ Rugby championship programme starts with a clash against Australia at Ellis Park in two weeks’ time. Their World Cup campaign‚ on the other hand‚ will begin with a blockbuster date against New Zealand on September 21.
Erasmus said they would take lessons from the mistakes made by Bantwana‚ Banyana Banyana‚ Bafana Bafana and the Proteas in the tournaments they have participated in recently.
The national Under-17 women’s team‚ Banyana and the Proteas disappointed at their respective World Cup tournaments, while Bafana sneaked through to the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations by the skin of their teeth this week.
“We will try and learn from them in as far as planning is concerned‚” the Bok coach said. “We will try and see where they did things right or wrong. I don’t necessarily think that there will be pressure on ourselves because other national teams did not do well.
“From a management side‚ we will learn from some of the mistakes and even the good things that they did. We see the frustration in the country and we want to make sure that we don’t create the same frustration.”
Erasmus noted that if the Boks are to return from Japan with the World Cup trophy‚ he has to build confidence in the changeroom when the team participates in the Rugby Championship.
“I am more under pressure and I believe that you can’t fake confidence‚ but you build it‚” he said. “What I have learned is that you can’t fake that‚ it is either you have it [confidence] or you don’t. You get confidence through winning. Last year when we beat the All Blacks in Wellington we got confidence.
“You have to build confidence when you are going to the World Cup. We are going into that Rugby Championship match against Australia with new combinations and the pressure will be on me.
“I want the players to go out there and express themselves‚ have a full go‚ use their talents and know the game plan. I don’t what them to have a situation where they feel like they have a gun to their heads to perform."