Versatile forward Rynhardt Elstadt says the Springboks’ substitutes have a responsibility to uphold the reputation of the ‘bomb squad’ by lifting the intensity when the Boks front the British & Irish Lions.
Elstadt has been named as one of the forward replacements in a rejigged ‘Bomb Squad’. His ability to cover the second and back row makes him a valuable asset for Jacques Nienaber. Asked what role he is likely to play on Saturday, Elstadt held his cards close to his chest.
“When I go on, I need to lift the intensity where the boys have left off. That’s what is expected of us. In South Africa the Bomb Squad comes on for a reason – we can’t disappoint the guys.
“It is expected of me to fulfil [a position] wherever I get an opportunity. For me to play at lock is now second nature, to play at loose forward is also second nature. So, whatever is expected from me I will fulfil my role as best as I can.
“For the moment, I will probably be fulfilling Pieter-Steph or Siya’s role. However, if it switches around we will make a plan. My versatility means that if there’s a problem at the locks I can help the boys out there as well.”
Being a rugby chameleon is both a blessing and a curse, as Elstadt has had to prepare for very different positions which he takes in his stride.
“In terms of preparation, I think I’ve got the most workload of everyone out there. I need to know the locks’ stuff and I need to know the loose forwards’ roles as well.
“But we do tend to combine working in pairs so that the one always knows the other one’s role and, if we need to, we fulfil each other’s role – which can make things easier. But being the guy coming off the bench you need to do more work than the guys starting!”
Elstadt will relish the chance to face the Lions after having missed out on the final Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
“Missing out on the World Cup was a big disappointment but I backed the boys from day one to the day they lifted the trophy. I was very proud of each and every one of them.
“I walked a road with them through the Rugby Championship and knew exactly where I stood from day one. Of course, when they lifted the trophy you want to be there but I felt part of the team and part of the squad.”