RASSIE HAS HIS SAY
ON WILLIE AND FAF BEING BACK
Playing France away in Paris is a big challenge and I definitely think guys like Embrose (Papier) and Damian (Willemse) learned a lot last week (against England), but getting Cheslin (Kolbe), Faf (de Klerk) and all the experienced guys back now, when we have to grind out a win this week, is pretty important.
ON THEIR CHANCES OF WINNING
It will be a tough one. The Boks did well last year to win and it will be the same this year; we’ll have to grind it out. We’ve had two close losses on the trot now (to New Zealand and England) so we’re desperate and would like to turn it around. Not sure who the favourites are.
ON PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT MOVING AROUND IN THE PACK
Only at scrum time where your number varies does it matter, but he’s comfortable in any position. His selection at lock frees us up to pick another flanker. He’s doing a job now but there are other guys who’ll come back, so he won’t stay there. Sometimes you need a guy with an engine at four-lock and he’ll give it to us this week.
ON LIFE WITHOUT EBEN ETZEBETH
it won’t be the same team, but players being given a chance, like RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph being one of the best flanklocks I’ve worked with... they’re quality. We’ll miss Eben for sure, but we’ve got proper replacements and we’re close to matching what we’re missing in him.
THE MAKE-UP OF THE FRENCH TEAM
It’s a massive, physical pack... we thought it was a big England team, but France’s locks, their loose-forwards, it’s massive. And there’s a lot of control at nine and 10; it will be a big test for our forwards.
WHY CHESLIN KOLBE HAS BEEN BROUGHT IN
If you look at the changes, the newcomers (from European teams) are at the same fitness level, time period, mindset, conditioning, etc. And Cheslin knows the French players well, so having that mix in our team will help. It’s one of the reasons why I picked him ahead of Damian Willemse and Gio Aplon.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS MATCH
We had a couple of good wins this season, and had disappointing losses; we’re desperate for a win. When you win, the confidence goes up. We would have loved to win all four on tour but we lost last week. We’re a long way from the World Cup but now is not the time to go into a downward spiral.