CAPE TOWN – The Springboks aren’t being given much chance of knocking over the All Blacks at Newlands on Saturday, but Morné du Plessis doesn’t think so.
The former Springbok No 8 and captain says the most critical part of the Boks’ approach to the Rugby Championship blockbuster is quite simple – believe you can win.
That was his message at a breakfast hosted by the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation South Africa and Mercedes-Benz at the latter’s Century City branch on Thursday morning, in a panel discussion alongside Jean de Villiers and New Zealand TV rugby commentators Grant Nisbett and Tony Johnson.
Du Plessis is also the chairman of Laureus South Africa.
“I sort of read it and hear it that they are the better team, which obviously the score suggests. But our team can’t believe that if they go on to the field. They’ve actually got to believe that each day is a new day, that there’s a chance of winning,” said Du Plessis, who was the Bok team manager at the triumphant 1995 Rugby World Cup, where South Africa beat New Zealand 15-12 in the final at Ellis Park.
“But if they go on to the field (with the mindset of) ‘We’re building for the future, etc, then I think you are going to start badly.
“They’ve actually got to believe that they can win this thing. I’ve seen it in my time – if you’ve got 15 guys who want to give their lives for it, and things go your way, it can happen.”
The Boks, though, may not feel the same way, with coach Allister Coetzee already saying after the 27-27 draw with the Wallabies in Bloemfontein last weekend that you would be “living in a fool’s paradise” if you think the Boks could beat the All Blacks at the moment, as they have been together only “three months and two weeks”, according to the coach, in the aftermath of the 57-0 disaster in Albany last month.
Du Plessis, though, feels there is still a genuine rivalry between the two teams.
“Long may this rivalry last. I know, our boys are hurting at the moment… If something great is going to happen – I have a feeling it could happen at Newlands, but that’s just my private feeling!