Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach says now is not the time for the Springboks to reflect on and bask in the glory of their 2019 World Cup triumph because their focus needs to be on the Tests against Georgia and the British & Irish Lions, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Reinach is part of the 45-man Bok squad preparing to go into battle against Warren Gatland’s Lions and, on Tuesday, he was named as South Africa’s the starting scrumhalf for their warm-up match against Georgia at Loftus Versfeld this coming Friday.
It will be the Springboks’ first Test since their crowning as world champions in November 2019 and, with 29 out of the 33 World Cup-winning squad members – absent are Warrick Gelant (injured) and Beast Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Schalk Brits (all retired) – back in the current group, a little reflection on the magnitude of what they achieved in Japan wouldn’t have been amiss.
But Reinach is adamant that while it is a positive to have such continuity in terms of squad selection, they are solely focusing on the challenges that lie in wait in the form of Georgia and the Lions.
“Winning the World Cup is pretty much every player’s dream, so it was, is and will always be unbelievable and it’s a story I can tell to my kids and everyone else for the rest of my life,” Reinach said on during a media briefing on Tuesday. “But it’s not the time to look on that now. There’s still rugby.
“It’s great that we have that many [RWC] players still playing together. And with all the new guys coming in, it’s wasn’t that hard to get on the same page. The coaches have been unbelievable, with the work they’ve put in I think they’ve had a quite a few sleepless nights. They’ve put in the work and got us all aligned and now we just have to go out there and show what we’ve learned and play a game that we can be proud of.
“Everyone wants to play for their country and give their best for the jersey and the excitement in the squad is bubbling over. The feeling in the team is just to get out there on Friday and put up a performance that is worthy.”
With unity and cohesiveness at the core of Rassie Erasmus’ tenure as Bok coach, Reinach said those are also the foundation on which Jacques Nienaber’s team will be built.
“There might be a few new faces but with all the work that our management and coaches have done, everyone is on the same level, in terms of understanding each other and understanding what we want to achieve. Through everything, we all know that being together is where we’re the strongest and most powerful. We want be a close family and I think we really are.”
Commenting on the challenges Georgia will pose to South Africa, Reinach said: “It will definitely bring us to a level where we want to be and how we want to grow more as a team. We haven’t been together for a long time. Test-match rugby is Test-match rugby, so it’s always going to be tough no matter who we play.
“We haven’t played for a while and need to go out there and just put it all on the field. You can expect a team going out there giving their best, all trying to perform to the best of their abilities and hopefully give a performance we can be proud of.”
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