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Pieter-Steph du Toit dismisses All Blacks as Boks' hardest RWC match

By Josh Raisey
Pieter-Steph Du Toit of South Africa celebrates following the team’s victory during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between England and South Africa at Stade de France on October 21, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

South Africa faced the toughest World Cup campaign last year that any team has ever had, let alone any team that has gone on to win the competition.

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Though they did not actually win every game (losing to Ireland in the pool stages), facing five of the top six teams in the world is a fixture list few teams, if any, are likely to face again at a World Cup.

To beat France, England and the All Blacks in the quarter-final, the semi-final and the final all by a solitary point makes the achievement all the more staggering.

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It is unlikely that the Springboks squad will agree with each other over which was the toughest match in their run as each game threw up different challenges. The quarter-final against hosts France was played at a ferocious tempo, the semi-final against England was completely different but the Boks looked in danger, while any match against the All Blacks in a World Cup final is going to be hard-fought.

But Pieter-Steph du Toit pinpointed the encounter with Les Bleus as his hardest match of the World Cup campaign. However, it was not necessarily what happened on the pitch that made it so tough, but the drama surrounding the fixture.

“For me personally, it will be the France game,” the flanker said on RPTV’s The Big Jim Show recently.

“For me mentally it was tough as well. I got a red against them a year before- an accident happened.

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“Especially the hostile environment with coaches playing mindset games with you. You think about the families, are they going to be ok? Have you got security there? You never know what’s going on in a rugby game- you get someone who’s so upset after a team lost that they’ll do anything for the team. They don’t think clearly.

“Of course, after that game I just put my hands up in the air in relief to be able to win that game.”

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