Why it was 'personal' for the Boks
FROM THE BOK CAMP: South Africa has proven that seven days can make a huge difference.
Two weeks ago the Springboks found themselves at the wrong end of a 17-22 loss to the British and Irish Lions in the first Test of the three-match series.
The World Champions were knocked off their champions perch.
However, just a week later they recorded an emphatic 27-9 win over the tourists in the second Test at Cape Town Stadium.
The result means the Springboks levelled the series, which have been dominated by a war-of-wards between the two camps.
SA Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’s 62-minute video dominated the headlines leading up to the second Test.
In the video and a first for the rugby fraternity, the World Cup-winning coach pinpointed the officiating errors made by referee Nic Berry in the first Test.
The events added extra drama to the already crucial Test for the Springboks.
To some, especially Clive Woodward, Erasmus’ tactics were referred to as ‘comical’, while Rugby Australia also spoke out against the video, labelling it as ‘public abuse against the officials’.
However, given the Springboks’ change in attitude, one might say it was a masterstroke.
It gave the team the desire to prove why they are still No.1 in the world.
Unlike the opening match, the second Test was filled with foul-tempered moments.
Springboks wing Cheslin Kolbe and B&I Lions wing Duhan van der Merwe were both handed yellow cards.
B&I Lions replacement prop Kyle Sinckler has been cited for biting the arm of Bok lock Franco Mostert.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Springbok Lodewyk de Jager revealed the magnitude of the match added to all the off-the-ball scuffles.
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“There was probably a little more niggle,” De Jager said, adding: “It was the magnitude of the game.
“It’s just part of Test matches.
“They are playing for their countries, they are world-class players who are there for a reason.
“It was a massive game for them, if they won that game, they won the series.
“For us, it was even bigger.
“If we lost, we were done.
“The magnitude of the game contributed to that little bit of niggle,”
One tactic which certainly paid dividends in the second Test was the use of the Springboks’ bench – affectionately known as the ‘bomb’ squad.
Replacements De Jager, Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch and Trevor Nyakane – who switched over to loosehead impressively – bullied the Lions in the scums, line-outs, maul and breakdown.
“We were disappointed with what we brought as a bench in the first Test,” the 28-year-old said.
“It could’ve been a lack of game time, rustiness, but we won’t make any excuses.
“We disappointed ourselves, our coaches, and our country.
“So we took the defeat personally, and then the whole squad — players, management and coaches — decided to make the second Test ‘personal’.
He added: “By ‘personal’ we mean it is about going out to play for your family, the people of this country and that fired us up as a bench as well.”
When asked if the Boks can deliver yet another intense 80 minutes De Jager said: “Firstly, it’s about understanding what it’s all about.
“It’s about more than yourself, you’re representing a whole country out there.
“Another thing is keeping each other accountable and driving standards. Hopefully, we can carry that same energy into this weekend’s deciding Test match.”