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VIDEO: Springboks settling well in PE, as team spirits grow stronger

By Marc Jacobson - Aug 11, 2017
VIDEO: Springboks settling well in PE, as team spirits grow stronger

After arriving in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the Springboks have been settling at the Garden Route Hotel, where they held their first debriefing ahead of their first Rugby Championship match-up against Argentina at the NMB Stadium next week.

South Africa have ascended to new heights after a disastrous 2016 season, with a walloping 3-0 Series victory over France in June, and the Springboks will look to keep that same momentum rolling heading into the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks have certainly adapted a new sense of team spirit so far, and speaking at the media conference on Friday afternoon, Assistant Coach Matt Proudfoot, emphasized that they aim to maintain this continuity.

“Preparation time is golden. If you recall Allister’s [Coetzee] comments throughout the June Series, he emphasized on the fact that we had those three prior training camps, which gave us a lot of headway going into the Test Series, which gives you more opportunity to be successful,” Proudfoot said.

“What makes it a lot easier is to see how well the players get on with each other. We were at a function last night and we could see the spirit the players were in, and they just came out of a tough Super Rugby campaign where they climbed into each other; so it makes this all much easier to have this extra week to prepare with them.”

Proudfoot stated that, regardless of their impressive whitewashing Series win over France in June, there are areas where the coaching staffs has highlighted for evolving on in the team’s game-plan moving forward.  

“The players have really been fantastic on how they’ve taken changes on and it has been great to see the intensity that they train with, and that has become synonymous with how this group trains and prepares.”

“We hope to hit the ground running, as was in June, to start with a win and to start building onto the momentum,” he added.

Comparable to the June Series against Ireland in 2016, the Springboks had a shaky start, losing to a 14-man Irish side in the first Test, followed by marginal victories in the next two Tests and then scraping past Argentina in their first home Rugby Championship encounter; Proudfoot believes time served the team well in evolving as a unit.

“We are in a much better space. Time and continuity gives us that space and we draw on experiences together and when you extrapolate that to the international set-up, having extra time allows the bonds to grow stronger.”

“We as coaches tried to interact with the players last night, but they just wanted to be with each other, and it was quite good to see from a coaching perspective. That’s what we are proud of about this team, that they’ve taken to each other to stand with one another.”

“We’ve taken aboard those tough lessons from 2016, to make sure we don’t make those same mistakes again,” Proudfoot concluded.

Springbok’s interim vice-captain, Siya Kolisi, a product of Grey High and having represented their 1st XV when matriculating in 2009, says he looks forward to donning the Green and Gold in his home town come next weekend against Argentina.

“I’m really excited. I know how much the people of the Eastern Cape enjoy watching their rugby and I wish we could play many more Tests here,” he said.

“I’m excited for my family to also come support me. I know the people normally come out in numbers when the Springboks play – especially the other day when we trained at Gelvandale, I’ve never seen so many people at a practice session, and that is why I always brag about coming home to play – this is one of the homes of rugby in my opinion,” Kolisi concluded.

Image: Springboks vice-captain, Siya Kolisi (left) and Assistant Coach Matt Proudfoot (right).

Watch to get a view of the press conference held at the Garden Route Hotel on Friday afternoon