By Nick Said
PRETORIA (Reuters) – Flyhalf Elton Jantjies praised the plans of coach Rassie Erasmus and said South Africa have developed the right systems to be successful at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Jantjies started at flyhalf as the Springboks defeated Argentina 24-18 in their one-off test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, with Erasmus having rested 18 players for the World Cup warm-up fixture.
It is a measure of the squad, according to Jantjies, that they can have an entirely new starting XV on the pitch from match-to-match, and still be successful after previous wins over Australia and Argentina, and a draw in New Zealand, saw the Boks lift the Rugby Championship this year for the first time since 2009.
“This group has been together for three or four years with a similar composition,” Jantjies said. “I know we have had different coaches, but we as individuals have come a long way.
“From my personal point of view, I think we now have the right system, defensively and in our kicking game, as well as from an attacking point of view.
“Everybody is aligned in terms of that. It is just for you as an individual do your role in the system.”
Jantjies says Erasmus has been a huge boost for the side after the disappointments of 2016 and 2017, where they racked up records for the wrong reasons, including a first ever loss to Italy and a 57-0 hammering by New Zealand, who they will face in the pool stages at the World Cup.
“The amount of knowledge they (the technical team) have, and the amount of knowledge the (playing leadership) group have, it goes hand-in-hand,” Jantjies says.
“Everybody knows what to do on the field, we work hard in training and then on Saturday we are well prepared. The bodies are fresh and we are all good to go.”
Jantjies says the exit of attack coach Swys de Bruin, who left the side earlier this month citing personal reasons having previously suffered from a stress-related illness, has been a loss, but adds that the team plans are now firmly in place.
“He set the foundation, the attacking system is in place and everybody knows what they have to do. What was amazing for me was to see how everybody responded so quickly at the training camps … the fundamentals of our attack, how we want to attack, how we want to cover the space and where we want to attack.
“We had a lot of time with coach Swys, even though he has now left. But we are all able to speak the same language, so he did enough. We are definitely going to do something special for him at the World Cup because he played a big role in terms of our preparation.”
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)