Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids is confident the team will be able to shift their focus to the Rugby Championship, immediately after a mentally and physically taxing Lions series. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Springboks will start the defence of their Rugby Championship title with successive matches against Argentina in Gqeberha this coming Saturday.
However, this is after an undoubtedly tough and bruising three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions, which the Springboks were able to win 2-1 with a last-gasp victory in the third Test.
While the Springboks put plenty of emotional energy into that series, assistant coach Davids said during a media conference on Monday that he was happy with how the players have continued their high standards this week.
“From a coaching perspective, we really enjoyed winning the series,” Davids said. “Because of the professionalism in the squad and the preparation that we’ve done before, the focus quickly shifted from there on to our next task. Obviously, it’s important to bring that reality to the players as soon as possible, which we have done.
“Also, giving the players an idea in terms of the planning of how things will unfold going into this week. We were aware of what this environment might be going into this week. We started full out today, starting to focus, going through some pictures of what we can expect from Argentina.
“For us, it’s a normal Test week, focusing on the task at hand. We will prepare accordingly.”
Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber said in a news release this past Sunday that they may look at resting a few players this week.
Davids, however, is confident that whoever comes into the match-day 23 will be able to fill the boots of those they replace.
“I think the players understand the importance of going into this competition. We are the defending champions. Obviously, we would like to defend the title successfully. I am really satisfied with how the players take responsibility and react to the challenges that lie ahead.
“For the players that have played in these Test matches, if others get an opportunity, they will also make sure that they do everything in their power to ensure that these players are prepared to the best of their ability, going into the next game.
“Having that environment and open-mindedness in our approach off the field, helps a lot in our training and preparation for the rest of the week.
“From that perspective, I can only commend the professionalism of the players. It’s not so much us motivating them. They understand the task, they are proud to represent the country and they want to assist each other to get better. The players will be ready for the challenges of this competition.”
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images