French not taking the Bok bait
REACTION: South Africa’s perspicacious Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus put the bait out.
The French team appears not to have taken a nibble.
Erasmus suggested the French are past masters in the art of gamesmanship, accusing the tournaments hosts’ players of simulation to draw referees into awarding penalties and cards against the opposition.
Erasmus, fronting up to the media as the tension started building ahead of the much-anticipated clash between the defending-champion Springboks and hosts Les Bleus, said the French don’t have a ‘reckless approach’ to the game.
They are not on the edge of being too physical or making themselves guilty of cheap shots.
However, they are the past masters of gamesmanship.
“What they do well is when they [the opposition] gets close to the line [of high tackles], they really show that to the referee,” he said of the French players’ animated behaviour.
“They sometimes simulate [present a false appearance], which is clever,” Erasmus added..
However, French forwards coach William Servat was not taking the bait.
(WATCH as South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus puts the French on notice for their often bodacious gamesmanship…)
“I don’t think there’s a lot to interpret,” he told a subsequent media briefing, when asked about Erasmus’ comments.
“Rassie is well versed in this kind of exercise.
“We know the intensity South Africa brings to a match.
“We know how tough they can be.
“I have no interpretation to make of what he said.
“What’s important is to make sure our players are prepared.”
Loose forward Grégory Alldritt also dismissed the talk of ‘mind games’, when asked about the Springbok coaches’ decision to delay their team announcement by a couple of days.
Erasmus said delaying the team announcement ahead of Sunday’s World Cup quarterfinal encounter with hosts France is ‘definitely’ a tactical decision.
Alldritt said when South Africa announced their team, it was not a concern for Les Bleus.
“We’re not focusing on that,” the No.8 said.
“We’re focusing on the rugby because we know they can’t change their rugby in four days.
“They have been doing something for four years and that’s what we’re focusing on.
“We’re focusing on the rugby, and we’ll see the team announcement at the end of the week.”