The Springboks’ plan for their historic win over the All Blacks in 2018 was to create genuine fear in their opponents, the first episode of ‘Chasing the Sun’ revealed.
The first episode of the five-part documentary on the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup victory premiered on Sunday night and revealed how Rassie Erasmus motivated the team ahead of the 2018 Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks in Wellington.
The Springboks went into the match on the back of two successive losses to the Pumas and Wallabies, with their previous result in New Zealand a 57-0 humiliation by their historic rivals in Albany in 2017.
‘It is kak to say that we’ve got nothing to lose, because we’ve got a lot to lose, but we’ve also got everything to gain from this Test match,’ Erasmus said while briefing his forwards just before the match.
‘RG [Snyman], if you’ve ever had a Test match where the people can say, as they always do, that you must leave nothing out there on the field, this is it … you are going to have to be so f****** physical out there. You don’t want them to be upset, you want them to be afraid. Rukking and plukking them [niggling], showing them the finger, that upsets them.
‘[But)]cleaning a guy out in the ruck [with maximum force] and just looking at him and laughing at him, that puts fear into them.’
Eben Etzebeth captained the team in Albany and after the game told the players that ‘this can never happen again’, while describing it as one of the worst days of his life.
During the documentary, Etzebeth revealed that as part of the Bok coaching staff’s tactics to turn the team around psychologically, Jacques Nienaber constantly reminded the players of the 57-0 loss.
‘When Jacques Nienaber was drilling us he kept telling us we were 57 points behind New Zealand,’ Etzebeth said. ‘He kept on hammering that into our heads. It was like a scab being picked off the whole time, and one day I got so upset with him. He said, “I am glad you getting upset with me, I hope everyone is getting upset with me, because it must hurt.”‘
The Springboks would go on to win 36-34 for their very first victory in Wellington after leading 26-14 at half time and then holding out against a late All Blacks onslaught on their own tryline.
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