26.11.2020 03:01 pm
After a difficult year the national rugby team’s next assignment will be against the British and Irish Lions in the middle of next year.
Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi walked away with another set of awards on Thursday morning, a little more than a year after they spearheaded South Africa’s third triumph at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
There are several changes to the team for the Currie Cup opener against the always tricky Pumas on Friday in Durban.
The former Springbok wing has been a surprise package at inside centre for the Bulls, proving an industrious supplier for his fellow backs and a sturdy rock in defence.
The Bulls start in prime position, with the log points from their championship-winning Super Rugby Unlocked campaign having been carried over.
The 23-year-old, who is in good form thanks to an extended run, was full of praise for young scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba and centre Marius Louw.
Assistant coach Hlungwani has a bit of a dig at the Unlocked champions, who played four games at home and struggled in their two away matches.
The former SA Schools player has not had any contact with family and has been missing for some time now.
While brute physical strength once again seems hip in South African rugby and the Bulls’ pack was certainly the most physical in the competition, Matfield believes the team’s success went well beyond simple forward-based rugby.
The forwards coach is satisfied with his players’ performance in the lineouts, but there are still concerns around the scrumming.
With log points carried forward, there’s plenty to do for the men from Bloemfontein as the 2020 Currie Cup kicks off.
Though they pushed the eventual champions in their opening game, losing by just 30-23, Griquas were defeated in all six of their Super Rugby Unlocked matches.
“Seven months ago you would have said we had no chance, so it’s a massive relief and the players will gain confidence from this.”
Four tries to nil ensured the men from Bloemfontein bagged the points that they’ll now take into the Currie Cup.
There will be great relief in Pretoria and a sense of justification that the appointment of Jake White as director of rugby has borne immediate fruit.
The good start to the Unlocked competition was undone with the cancelled game, while player departures also disrupted the team’s rhythm.