Double World Cup-winner Os du Randt says the Boks can claim a third title on Saturday provided the forward pack front up physically against England and the team remain disciplined throughout.
The former prop, who will officially be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame on 3 November, believes England are favourites in Saturday’s final but feels the Boks can spring an upset.
According to Du Randt, the key for the Boks will be to impose their physical approach on their opponents while simultaneously avoiding conceding unnecessary penalties.
In an interview from his Bloemfontein home, the 47-year-old highlighted the importance of the Boks maintaining their composure during the tense moments of the decider at Yokohama Stadium.
‘You don’t want to do stupid things because you are worked up and want to prove a point, and then by accident, stamp a man in the face, or use your elbow or things like that,’ said Du Randt. ‘You don’t want to bring the refs into the mix, because that would definitely be a deciding factor – a yellow card or red card.
‘Our forwards must man up. It’s about getting your set pieces right, put pressure on their scrums. You must dominate, and that is how you get into those guys’ heads and hopefully, eventually they throw in the towel.
‘With this pack that we have now, it would be an absolute disgrace if they overwhelm or dominate us. Our guys must go in with the right mindset and play with the right spirit – like the guys always say, “Ice in the head and fire in the belly.”‘
Reflecting on the Boks’ 15-6 win in the 2007 final in Paris – when either South Africa or England last contested the final – Du Randt says his team ‘absolutely felt in control’ throughout the final, despite England wing Mark Cueto controversially being denied a try.
South Africa’s starting loosehead prop on the day, he says that even while they were waiting for TMO Stuart Dickinson to adjudicate whether or not Cueto had scored, the Boks were not panicking. The team’s calm demeanour was due to the fact that South Africa had convincingly beaten England 36-0 earlier in the tournament, during pool play.
‘I think it [the 36-0 win] definitely gave us that edge to know that we can beat them if we play properly, and everybody is on their game as much as they can be,’ continued Du Randt, also a member of the victorious 1995 Springbok squad.
‘You don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think, deep down in our hearts, we knew that we were strong enough to beat them. We never really panicked, even with those incidents, and it showed our character: what we had come from and how we backed each other.
‘We all looked at each other with confidence, and deep in our hearts we knew we had each others’ backs. That’s an important aspect that you must have to win, especially in a World Cup final, because there is enormous pressure. Between the two World Cups that I won, it was about having that calmness and that each guy knew what he needed to do.
‘Everyone knew what was expected of him, and within you is that passion and drive that you don’t want to disappoint your teammate firstly, and then secondly, that you don’t want to disappoint your people back home.’
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