The 'pain' that drove Coenie back to the top

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:24

IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: The pain of being axed drove seasoned prop Coenraad Victor Oosthuizen to work harder than he has ever before.

The 28-year-old, 25-times capped Springbok front row forward - speaking head of the third and final Test against France - said the one-year absence from the national team was a "very bad time" in his life.

"Just realising what you are missing, when you are in a Bok environment, [it is] something special," he said at the team's base in Fourways, Johannesburg.

"Even though we [the Boks] did not do well, I still felt the pain of not being here and not being selected [for the Bok squad]," he said of eight defeats in 12 Tests in 2016.

"It is a low point in your life when you don't get selected.

"It makes you work so much harder at the end of the day. As [defence coach] Brendan [Venter] said: 'If everything fails, just work'.

"That is why it's so good to be back and I want to work extremely hard to make sure I am ready whenever I get the opportunity to play for the Springboks."

That work saw Oosthuizen - who played 23 Tests between his debut against England in 2012 and the encounter with the United States in October 2015 - bounce back this year.

His lack of form saw him watch from the sidelines last year.

Oosthuizen also dismissed the notion that complacency will be an issue, with the Boks already having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead n the three-Test series.

"There is such healthy competition in the team and everyone is excited about the environment we are creating," he said.
 
He spoke of the "respect" the Boks have for the French side, especially their big pack of forwards.

"They are a very good scrummaging pack of forwards and they have a weight advantage, which adds to their efficient scrum.
 
"As a proud nation we know France are hurting, so we expect a massive physical battle on Saturday," Oosthuizen added.
 
By Jan de Koning, in Johannesburg
@king36ed
@rugby365com