Springboks’ sights set on positive RWC start in France against Scotland
The Springboks’ assistant coach has warned that the Scots are a challenging opponent, but he has confidence in the Boks’ skill…
As the South Africa’s national rugby team prepares to kick off their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland in Marseille today (Sunday 10 Sep), Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has stressed the importance for the Bokke (who will be dressed in blue!) to deliver an effective all-round performance, building on the momentum from their warm-up matches.
Stick warned that the Scots – currently ranked fifth in the world – are a challenging opponent given their style of rugby and the fact that they have a classy playmaker running the show in flyhalf Finn Russell.
The Bok assistant coach is confident however that the Springboks have the skill and talent to get their campaign off to a good start, but he stressed that they have to be in top form from the outset.
“Scotland are in a good space, and they are playing with confidence,” said Stick.
“They also have Finn Russe ll at No 10 who is probably one of the best playmakers in their team.Looking at our preparation though, we’ve played against the All Blacks twice this year in the build up to the World Cup which was good for us. Scotland tend to spread the ball a lot – much like New Zealand – and they are certainly one of the best attacking teams currently, so it will be important for us to enforce our game plan on them.”
The Springboks go into the match with the mental edge – having won 23 meetings between the teams to Scotland’s five – and a winning sequence of seven matches for the Boks dating back to 2010. But Stick insists that it has no significance for the team.
“What happened between us and Scotland in the past doesn’t count anymore,” said Stick. “If we are not at our best tomorrow, it could be a long day at the office. We must pitch up mentally and physically if we want to win the game.”
The Boks have been drawn in the so-called “pool of death” with themselves, Scotland and the world’s top ranked team, Ireland, in their pool; and Stick said this made a good start to the tournament even more important.
“As any other team in the competition, we want a positive start to the World Cup,” said Stick. “A win would put us in a good space. So, we’ll go out there and give everything to achieve that. The key for us is to keep improving and to build momentum.”
The showpiece at Stade de Marseille kicks off at 17h45 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
FOR SOUTH AFRICANS ABROAD: Check out these venues worldwide for Saffas to support the Bokke together in the Rugby World Cup