Schalk Brits Exclusive: I fear South Africa may have peaked, Springboks respect English arrogance and their mentality, Ireland showed how to beat us

October 18, 2023
7 Minute Read

Speaking to online casino bitcoin Lucky Block, South African rugby icon Schalk Brits expresses fears of an early peak for the Springboks, admires England’s enduring ‘arrogance,’ and reflects on the historical weight the English rivalry carries for South Africa ahead of their anticipated clash.

Q. Is there any fear South Africa may have peaked too early given the teams they have played against?

SB: “That was one of my question marks around Irish rugby was how little game management they performed as they advanced out of the group. They were on a hot streak, playing beautiful rugby and winning so it is very hard to change a squad when you’re winning and performing.

“It is hard for any team, especially after 18 wins, to keep performing against the likes of South Africa, Scotland and New Zealand. Yes, they have beaten New Zealand but we just don’t know the extent of the damage sustained during that run. Most squads play with niggles. The game was phenomenal and it has definitely taken a toll on Ireland to get out of the group.

“Referring back to 2019, people need to understand that we got lucky in that campaign. We didn’t have the most intense run to the final; no disrespect to Japan or Wales, but those teams are not as draining or as exhausting as when you have to come through against the All Blacks. That New Zealand game took a lot out of the England boys and it heightened the expectation around them in the final.

south Africa rugby-team 2019

“They played the game of their lives, whereas our game against Wales was extremely boring. Now, the fear I have is that the tables have been turned completely around this time around. England beat Fiji, but not convincingly and South Africa had the battle of their lives against the host nation. It was a phenomenal game to watch, especially with Dupont back, but the question posed is that will both teams pick the same squad? I would imagine so, but how much will France have taken out of the Springboks?

“We have one day less to prepare for England, but to get emotionally and physically ready for the game is really hard to do back-to-back. From Scotland, Ireland, to a physical game against Tonga and then France. We have to wait and see what kind of performance we can put together this weekend.

“Rassie always focuses on physicality and work ethic. So how many tackles, how many rucks, how many steals – things you can quantify and measure. It is going to be difficult to match the performance we put in against France.”

Q. Will South Africa have to make changes after the France win?

SB: “What is in our favour is that we try and play this style of rugby every single time; it doesn’t matter if it is Tonga, Scotland, Ireland, France or England. We don’t differ or change our game plan much. Most teams probably don’t have massive outliers for us, but they know we always play a certain style.

“It’s going to be interesting this weekend, but I definitely think we can do it. The question is, ‘If we do it, what kind of impact will that have against New Zealand?'”

Q. Where does South Africa’s incredible determination and brutality come from?

SB: “In 2019, the chat was all about heritage and fighting for the land and your people. We grew up in a very tough environment in South Africa. We do understand there is a lot to play for, it is not about winning a rugby match, it is about giving hope. If your motivation is winning a rugby match, there are a lot of rugby games to win.

“But if you’re on the floor and hurting and you know there are 60 million South Africans watching at home, it is not just a rugby game for them. It is about culture, what gives hope in this country. We’ve got massive unemployment, electricity problems, crime is spiralling, a lot of microeconomic problems – so you get off the ground and you tackle the next guy that is running towards you.

“When you start playing to win a World Cup, it becomes extremely personal.”

Q. Will history repeat itself for England against South Africa in the World Cup knockout stages?

SB: “England got slaughtered by South Africa in the pool stages, then they pulled themselves together to get something with the personnel they had. They got all the way through to the final, and actually if it wasn’t for one particular incident [Mark Cueto] it would have been a totally different result.

“And then in 2019, I think we had England who had given New Zealand a proper whooping only to then lose Kyle Sinckler inside the first three minutes. Then they had to face two fresh packs and it benefitted South Africa a lot. That allowed us to dominate exactly where we wanted and it gave our backs the freedom to attack how we wanted and pinned England back as well.”

Q. What do South Africa fear about playing England?

SB: “England are such a tough side to play against because they have the correct mentality of taking the fight to teams in the same way they did many generations ago. They think, ‘we conquered the world’ and they believe they deserve to be the best in the world. They should have arrogance and all good players need this type of arrogance to succeed.

“I think South Africa will know they are the number one rated side, but they will fight for that spot in the final as if they were the underdogs. Rassie has one side he follows on Twitter and it is now the RFU. He did it for Ireland and Scotland previously as well.

“He is either looking for a job, but also keeping an eye solely on the opposition!”

Q. How can England beat South Africa, did Ireland expose any weaknesses

SB: “If you have an aggressive structure, like we had at Saracens, things that kill you are blindside attacks and chip kicks in behind your defensive line. I think what the French did in the beginning was changing their attack quickly and playing down the blindside a lot. One thing I do know is that Steve Borthwick and Richard Wigglesworth are very good at analysing games to death.

“They will then try to attack those weaknesses in the defensive structure. The way England plays is right up our alley; I mean they attack hard in the middle, they use Tuilagi a lot and they guys coming round the corner are coming from deeper. Our defence will break that down.

“Strategically, I think England will do the same and try to kick behind us a little bit and negate our rush defence. It is all about what kind of energy you get from it.

Q. Is it fair to say there is a strong historical context to this fixture for South Africans?

SB: “If New Zealand was the first team that we wanted to beat the most, then I would say England are swiftly behind them. Not in my later teams, but in my earlier days we constantly referred back to history as a reference point and motivation.

“You can take that as far back as you like, no matter how ridiculous that may seem, but it is always a motivation from the Boer side. When we started chatting about the dominance of England, we use it as a positive rather than a negative.”

Q. Will South Africa try and target a fired up Owen Farrell?

SB: “No, I don’t think South Africa will target him. What I do think is that we will respect how good he is and from my perspective, it has always been the case that the thing we hate the most is that he plays 12 instead of 10.

“I’ve always said he is never an inside centre, the team functions way better when he is at 10. I don’t like that 10-12 combination employed previously.”

Tom Middleton

Tom is a crypto gambling expert with more than a decade of experience in the industry and Master’s Degree in Journalism. He has written thoroughly researched guides and reviews for several major publications.

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