VIDEO: 'Violent' Boks ready to take Les Bleus to a dark place
The word violent was used liberally this week to describe South Africa ahead of their World Cup quarterfinal encounter with France.
While the Springboks make no apologies for being ‘physical’ in their approach, Les Bleus players and coaches took the level of venomous depiction of their opponents to an entirely new level.
Most of the references relate to the teams’ year-end clash in Marseille last November – a game in which both teams were issued red cards and France won the arm-wrestle 30-26.
While the Boks admit there was a level of ‘brutality’ in that encounter, the French described the Boks and their approach as ‘violent’.
Bok captain Siya Kolisi said his team is determined to keep their disciplinary record clean, ensuring they stay on the right side of the referee.
“Our discipline has been really good,” Kolisi said, adding: “I think we are the only team who haven’t received a yellow card in this tournament.
“We do play physically, we do play on the edge, but we train to tackle correctly and stay onside.
“That is why the technique is so important.
“But, at the same time, we can’t be worried about doing something crazy.
“We have to live on the edge, that is what our game is as a South African team, to play as hard as we can for 80 minutes.
“People enjoy rugby because it’s brutal.
“We need to go forward so our wings and backs can do their thing.
“I think the ref will be able to manage the game and obviously if we steer clear of anything naughty, we will be alright.”
(The article continues below the clip from the French media briefing on Friday …)
Veteran prop Steven Kitshoff also spoke about the need to not take a step back in the Stade de France cauldron on Sunday.
“France have a big pack and they live for big moments at the breakdown and turnovers.
“We need to make sure we nail down our details.
“With that detail comes a bit of ‘dog’, where you climb into a guy when he tries to poach your ball.
“When it comes to the big scrum battle, you got to make sure you are mentally in there, get onto the front foot and get a lot of go-forward for the team.
“There’s going to be a lot of physicality in the game and big collisions, but it is something we have preparing for since June, working hard on the way we tackle and the way we impose ourselves physically, so we are pitching up on Sunday.”
He said earlier matches prepared the Boks for the brutality the French were likely to bring to Paris.
“When teams play against the Springboks, they always talk about the physicality of the game,” the front row forward said.
“Ireland and Tonga were probably two of the toughest games I have played all year.
“We always try to make it as physical as possible,” he said, adding that they are aware of what teams say about them in the media.
“We know France is going to bring a lot of physicality and it’s going to be quite interesting on Sunday.”
(Article continues below the Kitshoff interview …)
Kitshoff said the Boks will have to take France to a ‘dark place’ early in the game, because of the levels of physicality.
“It might get to a point where some players have not been,” the veteran front row forward said.
“we will see on Sunday if both teams are willing to go to that dark spot quite early.”
On the game against France in Marseille in November 2022: “We had a look at it during the week.
“We had a look at it during the week.
“We did a lot of things right in that game.
“We got a red card quite early in the game and played with 14 men, but were still in it right to the end.
“We took a lot of learnings from it.
“The experience from that game is going to help us a lot this weekend, but we still need to pitch up and play proper rugby on Sunday.”