Strolling along the Marseille Coastline, RugbyPass's Jim Hamilton captured an exclusive walking interview with South African rugby legend, Schalk Burger. Burger discussed the Springboks' journey in the Rugby World Cup, their recent victory over Scotland, and the upcoming face-off with Ireland.
Burger, emphasized the evolution of the Springboks.
"We're not a one-trick pony anymore. We can really play with personnel changes. Look at our outside backs, they can finish," he said, highlighting the team's adaptability and progress.
Burger, renowned for his deep understanding of the game, highlighted the contrasting
playing styles of South Africa and Ireland. "Ireland focuses on attack and ball management, a simple yet effective approach," he noted. "Against us, it's about our defense and how we handle the attack...we're good enough to do that," Burger confidently remarked, emphasizing South Africa's unique defensive style.
Drawing parallels between Ireland's historical struggle in Rugby World Cups and South Africa's experiences in Cricket World Cups, Burger touched upon the palpable pressure of knockout matches. "World Cup quarterfinal...the hottest game at the World Cup...so much at stake...it is ramped up in the competition...they'll feel it from Ireland...they'll be quietly confident," he mused.
Reflecting on the significance of rugby in South Africa, Burger stated, "It's a big thing for us as South Africans, and the Boks often determine the mood of the country on a Monday." He also recalled mentoring Siya Kolisi during his early days and the importance of guiding young talent.
Burger was full of praise for Manie Libbok's man of the match performance and also
Peter-Steph du Toit, comparing him to his own playing style. "He's everything we want from a number seven - an absolute worker," he said.
He continued and expressed concerns about Eben Etzebeth shoulder injury loom large, with Burger admitting, "We haven't got too much clarity on it... It's quite a big loss."
Watch the full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UL5Sq8S4-Q&t=16s
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Can anyone handle the Springboks' ferocity? Only time will tell. Until then, let's rally behind our boys and hope for another World Cup triumph.