To stay calm and stick to the game-plan – those are the lessons scrumhalf Embrose Papier will be bringing back to the Blue Bulls from his time with the Springboks as they go into their critical last Currie Cup round-robin game
against Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Papier was only given limited game-time off the bench, as Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’ tactics revolved heavily around Faf de Klerk, but the 21-year-old said his time in the national squad was a great learning experience.
“It’s good to be back with the Bulls, but I learnt a lot in my time with the Springboks and from Faf, he’s experienced and he taught me a lot, which I now want to take into the Currie Cup. The biggest lessons were to stay calm and focus on the game-plan, especially when I went on last weekend against one of the best in the world (TJ Perenara).
“I was quite frustrated because everyone would ask me why I wasn’t playing, but I just learnt a lot with the Springboks by focusing on the game-plan. Which is what Rassie would keep asking me about. So it’s been a big year
for me, but I just have to take it step for step,” Papier said.
He said he believes that unbeaten Western Province can be upstaged in Pretoria at the weekend, but it is the Blue Bulls forwards that are going to have to lay the foundation for that.
“I’ve watched a few Western Province games, they’ve been really good the whole season, but I think we’re ready for them. We’re going in with a positive mindset and we must give our all and play for the full 80 minutes. If we can
put their forwards under pressure, we can take them.
“The Currie Cup is a difficult competition because everybody wants to win it and we’ve slipped up twice against the Lions and Sharks. But against the Lions it was just net, net, so if we play the whole 80 minutes and vasbyt then we can win whatever games we have left,” Papier said.