Springboks – “Goal Achieved, But It Wasn’t Perfect” – Rassie Erasmus

 

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said it was a case of “goal achieved” as they kicked off their 2024 season on a winning note against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday with a strong second-half performance seeing them overcome a narrow 14-13 halftime lead, to register a well-deserved 41-13 victory.

Both teams created a chances to score points in addition to those accumulated, but were held out by the strong defence and errors at crucial times respectively, however, with a win under the belt going into the Castle Lager Incoming Series in two weeks – which features a Test series against Ireland and a match against Portugal respectively - Erasmus said it was a good start to the year.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance,” said Erasmus. “We made a few errors and there were things that didn’t click, but there were others that did, so it was a good start.

“We have new coaches and had a few players making their debuts, so there were areas of the game that were not as good as we would have liked it to be, but there was certainly no lack of effort and intensity, and we realise it will take time for things together nicely.

“The important thing is that we achieved our goal and the players who made their debuts showed that they are capable at playing at this level.”

Zooming in on the game, Erasmus said: “It was a tough match as it always is against Wales. I thought our scrums went well, but we didn’t dominate the collisions. We also conceded a try, but we scored five and we could have scored a more, but those are things we need to work on going forward.”

Erasmus added: “It was a beneficial game for us because some players were not eligible for selection and a guy like Jasper Wiese is still out (on suspension), while some of the Japanese players haven’t played in a while. But the young guys stepped up to the plate and played really well.”

Springbok captain Pieter-Steph du Toit was also pleased with the result and was delighted to make amends for the last match in which he led the team against Wales – which the Boks lost 22-20 – and said it was an honour to lead the team.

“It was awesome to play at Twickenham, and with all the fans here, it almost felt like a home game,” said Du Toit. “I was a little stressed before the match, because one has to consider how you are feeling as well as the rest of the team, but I feel we achieved a lot in this match.”

Erasmus said the medical team would assess the bumps and bruises suffered in the match before flying to South Africa on Sunday night, as well as the injuries in the Vodacom Bulls camp following their Vodacom United Rugby Championship final against the Glasgow Warriors before finalising their squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

The Springboks will arrive in South Africa on Monday.