Senior Springbok players have revealed just how much the professionalism of Rassie Erasmus’ technical team has boosted South Africa’s fortunes.
Eben Etzebeth, Tendai Mtawarira and skipper Duane Vermeulen all praised the work of the coaching and support staff and said the training had imparted a unique clarity of vision to the team.
Speaking to the media on arrival at OR Tambo airport, with the Rugby Championship trophy in tow, Vermuelen praised the combined efforts of the team and support staff. He said the senior players in the team made the job of captain a simple one.
“I had an open seat next to me, it was convenient to let the Rugby Champs trophy sit it next to me!” The skipper joked.
“Yeah, there has been some blood, sweat and tears, but it’s not just my reward. This for the team. Everyone worked so hard. This isn’t even our final goal, it’s a stepping stone towards the World Cup.
“It’s great to come back with a bit of silverware. Leading the team is actually an easy task.
“There’s a group of senior guys who all have clear roles and responsibilities.
“Then it’s easy to just run out in front out of the tunnel. You just have to do a few team talks and talk to the ref. There’s a helluva lot of excitement in the camp, and while we’re trying to achieve more consistency we’re pretty happy with where we are.
Veteran prop Mtawarira believes that the current Springbok camp is the best one he has ever been part of because of multiple factors but most importantly everybody in and around the team knows their role.
“This is the best Bok team environment I’ve ever experienced … and that’s really not a lie,” the Springbok stalwart said.
“I talked to Eben about this over the weekend and what excites us is that there really are no egos here. Everybody wants to do well, give their best every weekend.
“I’m privileged to be here and I’ve been in many Springbok teams over the years. It’s really been about ownership over the last two years. The players have been taking responsibility for their own departments so to speak. The planning has stood out for me, everybody knows what the plan is and everybody is exactly aware of what they need to execute. We’ve brought into it and we’re working towards it.”
Etzebeth credited the coaching staff with helping to impart that clarity of role to each and every player in the group.
“The detail when you come into the Springbok camp stands out, ” said Etzebeth.
“My teammates talked about us taking ownership of our playing responsibilities, but it’s the same with the coaching staff too. Each of the specialist coaches are very thorough with communicating their plans.
“When you run on to the training field, you know exactly what you’re practising and what you need to do during the game. It’s really next-level stuff and we as players constantly talk about that. It’s a great confidence booster. There’s so much clarity. “
The Springboks face Argentina in a one-off Test at Loftus on Saturday.
The South African