VIDEO: Why Rugby Championship is vital in Bok build-up
WATCH as seasoned Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit talks about his award as Player of the Year and his country’s prospects at the World Cup.
South Africa, despite their win over New Zealand in Wellington last year, are not getting much value from bookmakers.
Perhaps it is based on their fifth place on the world rankings and the fact that they managed to win just 50 percent of their games in 2018.
However, Du Toit – who was named SA Player of the Year for the second time in three years – believes things could change dramatically closer to the tournament.
He described the World Cup as an “open contest for all the teams” and added that the Springboks know they will have to pitch up for every game.
“The World Cup is a strange competition,” Du Toit told a media briefing at Newlands, after receiving his award as Player of the Year.
The Boks will have limited preparation time – with just three Rugby Championship matches (against Australia on July 20, New Zealand on July 27 and Argentina on August 10), before a couple of warm-up matches (against Argentina on August 17 and Japan on September 6).
“If we get confidence from the [Rugby] Championship it will be good for the team,” Du Toit said, adding: “It [the Rugby Championship] is going to be massive.
“I won’t say the team that wins the Championship will win the World Cup, but performing in the Championship and getting confidence will be massive.”
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The utility forward added that doing well in Super Rugby will also benefit the Boks’ World Cup prospects.
“You’ll be able to carry that form into the Springbok set-up.
“It will inspire the guys next to you.
“For a South African team to win Super Rugby will be massive.”
His first win as SA Player of the Year was with him coming off the bench most of the time, while the 2018 award was earned as a starting No.7.
“It is more satisfying this time round.”
He admitted his body was tender after the battering it took in 2018, but said careful management by the Stormers management – in conjunction with the Bok brain trust – will have him fighting fit.
He said he will concentrate more on playing at blindside during the Super Rugby season, even though Bok coach Rassie Erasmus seems him as a utility forward that can cover blindside flank and lock.
“I told [Stormers coach Robbie] Fleck I want to play No.7, because I enjoy my rugby more in that position,” he added.
By Jan de Koning