Watching our other sports teams battling on the international stage has made the Springboks even more determined to perform in the Rugby Championship and the World Cup, according to national coach Rassie Erasmus.
The Proteas cricket side and the Banyana Banyana and Bafana Bafana football squads had all recently been handed defeats in major international tournaments, and the Boks hoped to restore some national pride.
“I’ll be honest, I watched the women’s football World Cup the other night, and it’s such a big year with all the competitions going on, you do get caught up in it,” Erasmus said.
“You try and learn which teams performed on the tactical side but we are not putting pressure on ourselves because they have failed.”
Erasmus said they were also wary of being caught up in the emotion ahead of their opening Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Ellis Park on July 20.
“We desperately want to win the Rugby Championship because we haven’t done it for 10 years, and we also want to win the World Cup, so that’s the pressure we have already been putting on ourselves.”
Regardless of the performances of other SA teams, Erasmus said they were eager to do well and maybe learn from the mistakes of some of the other sides.
“We saw the frustration and we want to make sure we don’t create that same frustration,” he said.
While Erasmus was satisfied with the time he had received to get the squad in shape, he was somewhat concerned that they might not be match-sharp for their second Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand, with about 18 players being withheld from the Aussie Test.
“The team who flies to New Zealand won’t have enough game time, so we might go with a good squad on paper, but landing there we might not be match-fit.”