Williams in perfect head space for Boks if needed

Grant Williams. | BackpagePix

Grant Williams. | BackpagePix

Published Jul 2, 2024


He’s been tipped as one of the scrumhalves that can assist the Springboks in evolving their game plan and should Grant Williams get the nod to start against Ireland, he is determined to grab the chance with both hands.

Williams doesn’t remember his first start as Bok scrumhalf on home soil very fondly for one reason alone – it lasted a mere 10 seconds at Ellis Park when he suffered a concussion against Argentina while trying to clear the ball off the kick-off.

It was a knock that almost saw him miss the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, but thankfully he made the cut to go on and win the title with South Africa.

Regular No 9 Faf de Klerk trained yesterday at Loftus Versfeld, where the two-Test series starts on Saturday (5.05pm kick-off). His left upper leg was strapped as he warmed up under the supervision of physio Dr Aneurin Robyn. De Klerk also kicked some box-kicks during the warm-up, which suggests he has recovered sufficiently from the leg injury he picked up against Wales.

But Williams said should he be selected today by head coach Rassie Erasmus, he will be ready for the challenge. And he’s not putting too much thought into how his previous start in the Bok scrumhalf jersey went.

“If I get selected, that will be in the back of my head,” Williams admitted of the incident against Argentina.

“But this is just another opportunity to ensure I bring my part to the team if I play. Remember, I am still new in the system, so all of us (the newbies) are still learning.

“We are on the right track. There is healthy competition (within the squad) and that is the most important thing for me.

“I normally grow (in my game) when the competition is on. We have four good nines at the moment.”

"I normally grow (in my game) when the competition is on. We have four good nines at the moment. If you look at the scrumhalves in general in South Africa, they have all been successful and that’s healthy. It brings out the best in us."

According to Williams, when you’re in the national team set-up, there’s no time for slacking.

He said that they are excited to play on home soil again and run out in front of a sold-out Loftus on Saturday. The Boks played their first Test of 2024 at Twickenham against Wales a couple of weeks ago.

It doesn’t matter to Williams where he is selected, as long as he can contribute, having also played as a winger during the World Cup.

“Whatever the Springboks demand or ask from me, I think I will be able to deliver. It doesn’t matter if it is scrumhalf or wing, I will take it on. We are setting normal Springbok standards for us this weekend.

“We pride ourselves in winning Test matches and we don’t dwell too much on number one or number two. The World Cup is in the past, and we are looking forward to the Test on Saturday. The whole squad is on that page.

“Like any international team, Ireland will pitch up physically. I expect it to be a fast-paced game and one of 80 minutes.”

He said attack coach Tony, defence coach Jerry Flannery and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick had made plans to protect him from Irish players at the ruck.

“I won’t say too much about it, but we will be okay.”

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