Grounded Boks have the right 'attitude'

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:00

REACTION: South Africa are expecting a 'helluva backlash' from France when the teams meet in the second Test in Durban this coming Saturday.

Springbok captain Warren Whiteley made it clear his team will stay 'firmly grounded', despite their impressive 37-14 win over France in the opening match of the three-Test series in Pretoria at the weekend.

Coach Allister Coetzee also spoke of the need to maintain the 'intensity and attitude' that secured them their win, as they go into the crucial second Test.

Whiteley spoke of the foundation that was laid in Plettenberg Bay in a pre-season training camp.

"There will always be things to work on, things to tweak as we go along," Whiteley said, adding: "The foundation has been laid and that is extremely important.

"By no means was it a perfect performance."

He pointed to the resilience of the team to keep a hard-charging French team out for the final 10 minutes - preventing a late comeback.

"Our defence and cover defence was brilliant," the captain said, adding that the will keep their feet "flat on the ground".

"It is going to be a a helluva Test next week," he said of the Durban encounter.

"The French will do their homework."

The captain pointed to the team's intensity as one of the most crucial aspects of their win.

"The effort, guys getting off the ground, getting back in shape [on defence], working on defence, working on attack," he said, adding: "We had options to work off on attack.

"We worked really hard for each other.

"That foundation was laid in Plettenberg Bay and we can take that forward."

The coach, Coetzee, said mistakes can be fixed, but attitude is not something you can coach.

"That is what the players showed out there," Coetzee said.

"They made a mistake, but then scrambled to fix it. That is what I am so proud of.

"You can see the positivity when a player makes a mistake. Warren, with his leadership, does not even have to speak harshly to a player.

"Everyone has a nice, positive way of building players up.

"That is the main thing about defence, attitude."

The coach said he is expecting France to make a "massive" step up in Durban.

"We must make sure this physical intensity of ours, that we don't drop our guard there.

"We are aware the French will come [back at us next week] ."

By Jan de Koning - at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria
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