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The rousing speech Rassie Erasmus gave South Africa bench while losing to England

By Josh Raisey
Rassie Erasmus, Coach of South Africa leads a team talk as the players of South Africa form a huddle inside the South Africa dressing room following 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 Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

The World Cup semi-final clash between South Africa and England was a tale of two benches.

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Almost every player that was brought on by Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus had a meaningful impact in the close encounter against England, while Steve Borthwick’s replacements were slightly less effective.

Fly-half Handre Pollard has stolen the headlines for his match-winning penalty, but the loosehead and tighthead combination of Ox Nche and Vincent Koch have also received a lot of credit for blitzing the opponents’ scrum in the final quarter, while lock RG Snyman scored the all too important try with ten minutes to go.

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WATCH as Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones talks about the mood in the camp ahead of their World Cup Final face-off with the All Blacks

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WATCH as Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones talks about the mood in the camp ahead of their World Cup Final face-off with the All Blacks

Another member of the Springboks’ match-winning bench, flanker Kwagga Smith, has grown familiar with the role over the past four years and has become a vital member of the fabled ‘Bomb Squad’.

Ahead of the final this week, the 30-year-old discussed the responsibility and importance of the South African bench. He said: “Since 2019 the bench has had a massive impact with the Springboks so it’s something that’s been building up for years now. When we are on the bench we know we have a responsibility to fulfil.

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“Playing in the final we know it’s going to be 80 minutes, maybe it might go to 100 minutes, you never know. You know you’ve got to be ready and make sure you use your opportunity when you get it.”

Rarely during the tenure of Erasmus and Nienaber has the bench had such a vital role to play in the result than it did in the semi-final win over England, as the world champions were trailing at half-time.

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Smith outlined what Erasmus said to the bench during during the break of that match as he proceeded to unleash the bench in the opening minutes of the second stanza.

“For the England game he told us on bench before the game that it’s going to be a massive one,” Smith said.

“At half-time he just said to us, ‘listen, this is your game to win, it doesn’t help to wait for someone else, this is the bench’s time to go up and make a difference’.”

It only took eleven minutes after the second-half whistle before the entire bench was called upon, except Koch who had to wait a further five minutes. Erasmus’s speech clearly had a profound impact on the eight players as they steered the Boks to the World Cup final against the All Blacks.

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Comments

9 Comments
B
Bob Marler 232 days ago

Something about inches.

B
Bob Marler 232 days ago

“Better not lose.”

B
Bob Marler 232 days ago

“Play your absolute best please.” ?

B
Bob Marler 232 days ago

“Go! Win!” ?

E
Efraim 233 days ago

What speech are you talking about?

J
John 234 days ago

Josh, go look again. He didn't bring them all on at the same time except for Kock. They were brought on individually during English set pieces, disturbed the whole England flow by having clock off each time and then having to wait for the replacement, took Eben 45 seconds to get swopped out for RG.

H
Hans 234 days ago

Please, for the love of God, stop clickbaiting your audience with headlines that promise far more than what the article offers. With a bit more focus on quality this website can be really stunning. Unfortunately, you’re letting yourself and all your readers down with this nasty habit of overselling your content.

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