‘Silence the 16th man early,’ says former Bok about French crowd
A hostile environment is expected inside the Stade de France when the Boks take on France on Sunday.
The French are very vocal in their support for their team. Picture: Luke Walker / Gallo Images
This titanic battle will take place at a sold-out Stade de France; the stands will be full of blue jerseys instead of the famous green and gold of the Boks. and the French supporters and ultras, whose wrath was felt in the opening game of the tournament between France and New Zealand, will be in full voice as they look to create a hostile environment for the defending champions.
Former Springboks fullback Ricardo Loubscher, who spent time in France coaching Top 14 side Stade Francais, has advised the Boks to kill the atmosphere that will be coming from the stands early on in the match.
“The crowd will come out and support their team. From a Boks point of view, it will be how can they take that loud noise away and focus on what needs to be done, and that is to stick to the system, create chances and finish them off,” said Loubscher.
“From the experience of coaching in France, if you go to a Top 14 match the teams are well supported, and the fans will travel. This one is in Paris, it will be massive.
“The fans will be like the 16th man for the French team, and I think they will get a lot of energy knowing they will be supported … silencing them will be important,” he said.
The match is a straight shootout; a win will send the Boks to the semi-finals and a loss will see them return home. Both teams find themselves under tremendous pressure; the Boks as reigning world champions and France as the host nation and favourites.
Previous World Cup
The position the Boks are in suits them, according to Loubscher who believes the team have the mettle to handle the pressure of the situation.
“The Boks can draw on the experience from the previous World Cup (in Japan), the players know how to perform under pressure and for France it will be a little bit different,” said the former Boks backline coach.
“Looking at squad, the Boks have the experience in terms of what it’s like to play in a high-pressure game. This weekend will be a massive one … If the Boks can put France under pressure from the word go and hopefully a few decisions go their way, that will be a deciding factor.”