An unlikely quartet of Springboks did their painful media duty on Wednesday and some interesting answers were solicited by the Scottish and South African press.
With Fourie du Preez speaking about the four-year plan to win the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Adrian Jacobs revealing that his good form is due to a fear of Jaque Fourie, Beast Mtawarira admitting that he got his nick name at school because he was a bully and Pierre Spies saying that his illness last year motivates him to enjoy each rugby game as if it is his last.
“We are still at the early stages of Peter de Villiers’ career and there has had to be natural adjustment as we (the players and the coach) get used to each other,” Du Preez said.
“We are not where we want to be in terms of performance but we know that we are on an upward curve that will stretch all the way to the next World Cup, and by the time we get there we must be the best team in the world (having reclaimed the IRB’s No1 ranking from New Zealand).”
Mike Greenaway writes in the Pretoria News The Bulls scrumhalf said that the Boks are also finding that their status of world champions brings out the best in the opposition.
“Everybody wants to knock off the World Cup winners, but that is a nice problem to have. Ultimately it is going to make us a better team. Wales were ferocious. You could tell how much a victory over us would have meant to them. And Scotland is going to be just as tough.”
Du Preez’s opposite number Mike Blair, had an excellent game against the All Blacks, fashioning three clean line breaks on his own, and Du Preez has taken careful note of the need to contain him.
“You can see why he is nominated for the IRB Player of the Year Award (along with Dan Carter, Sergio Parisse, Ryan Jones and Shane Williams),” Du Preez said. “The responsibility of being captain brings out the best in him.”
The Beast said that he had been impressed by the scrumming of the Scotland tighthead prop Euan Murray, who earned rave reviews for his demolition of Jamie Mackintosh, the massive All Black prop know as Whopper.
“Scotland are always good at set pieces,” the Beast said. “With that in mind we had a very good scrumming session this morning, much better than on Monday when we were just too cold! We are getting much sharper as the week progresses.”
The Beast was the subject of much fascination to the local media and the 23-year-old was grilled on topics going all the way back to his primary school days in Zimbabwe when he used to throw his weight around.
Spies said that the Springboks would play similarly to the way they did against Wales because of the conditions expected at Murrayfield, particularly with their being no roof to keep the rain out this week.
“Last week we wanted to keep it simple because it was our first game together since the Tri-Nations, and we also feel that a more direct approach is the way to go in the Northern Hemisphere,” he said.
The No 8 said that the blood disorder that kept him out of the World Cup has cleared up but that it continues to influence his philosophy on life.
“When you have a major health scare like that, you learn to appreciate life. I take one day at a time and have a new gratitude at being able to play the game, and to be able to play for my country is just unbelievable. I don’t know whether it (the illness) is going to come back so I enjoy every moment of being involved with the Springboks.”
Jacobs, the scorer of three tries in his last two tests, said he was likewise enjoying himself in Springbok colours because his initial call-up had been a surprise to him.
“When Jaque Fourie got injured and Peter (de Villiers) picked me, there were a lot of sceptics but if I analyse my year, I reckon it went pretty well. Peter stuck to his guns with me and I knew that I had to take the chance because if I let Jaque back into the team, that would be the end of me. He is such an awesome player. If he gets the jersey back he will make sure he can’t get dropped.”Tweet