Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says his team will have no margin for error during the pool stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
South Africa have been drawn alongside Ireland and Scotland, Asia/Pacific 1 and Europe 2 in Pool B for the 2023 World Cup.
Commenting on the Springboks’ pool allocation immediately after the draw, Nienaber said: ‘We are obviously excited about the draw today [Monday], and although the Rugby World Cup in France is still almost three years away, it’s good to have an end goal to work towards.’
‘To be in the same pool as Ireland and Scotland will be a massive challenge, but to win the tournament, you have to be able to beat all the teams and we will be properly tested in the pool phases.
‘We saw last year the margin for error – even during the pool stages – at any Rugby World Cup is very small.
‘Take for instance our situation where we simply had to win every single pool game after our loss to the All Blacks in Japan, to ensure we qualify for the knockout stages.
‘If you look at the countries in the top-three bands, I would say each one of those teams is capable of beating another on any given day, proven by a team such as Japan, who have made huge strides in recent years.’
On his part, captain Siya Kolisi said the draw heralds a significant marker for the Springboks to aim at.
‘It’s exciting, really, to know who your RWC pool opponents will be for the 2023 tournament in France.’
However, Kolisi said that for the immediate future, the Springboks’ attention will be on another huge and looming challenge.
‘For now, we have to turn our attention to the massive challenge the British & Irish Lions will bring next year – there is huge anticipation, both at home and in the UK, for what promises to be another memorable Lions series in South Africa.’
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images