Boks laser-focused on Romania despite looming Ireland clash

Boks laser-focused on Romania despite looming Ireland clash

The Springboks refuse to look beyond their next World Cup clash against Romania, despite the massive battle against Ireland that awaits.

South Africa's Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids said that, following their win over Scotland, the focus immediately switched to their next opponents and their plans for the match.

While they cautioned against taking Romania lightly, they nevertheless suggested they would look to rotate their squad for the clash.

Erasmus also offered a positive injury update on lock Eben Etzebeth, who had to leave the field against Scotland with an injured shoulder. While they were still awaiting the results of a scan, the initial prognosis suggested only a 7-10 day lay-off, meaning he would only be unavailable for the Romania clash.

"The Romania match is the most important one next, not just to get the result, but to improve enough to really give the No 1 team in the world [Ireland] a go," Erasmus said.

"If we manage to win that one, then it will be a really interesting last round because I think Scotland have the ability to give Ireland a go. They are used to playing against them in the United Rugby Championship and the Six Nations.

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"Ireland will come with a strong team against us, but they're also playing Tonga this weekend, and it's going to be nice and exciting. That's what makes the World Cup so special and exciting at the same time."

Davids added: "It would be a mistake to look at the Scotland game and say it's done [qualifying from the group]. We need to continue with our campaign, and we'll have to take the lessons we learned into account and ensure that our mental and physical preparation on the training field is right. There's still a long way to go, and we need to improve in every game."

Hinting at a possible switch in some personnel this week, Davids said: "We approach every team with a lot of respect, and obviously all the players in the squad are excited to be part of the competition. If we rotate the squad or if we look differently at the squad selection for this game due to player management, obviously we'll take our performance from the past game into account."

Erasmus and Davids were satisfied with the team's start to the competition - although they insisted there was room for improvement - with Erasmus saying: "Overall there was so much talk about Scotland being the best team in their history and we know how famous they are for attacking and spreading the ball and playing a really high-paced game.

"So, we're very happy that we could contain them with all their great ball carriers. It was obviously a far from a perfect performance, but we think we have a solid foundation to work from. Romania will definitely come out and give their all. In certain areas they'll really challenge us, but we have a base to improve from."

The Springboks had Monday off to rest and recover from the physical encounter against Scotland and were set to begin their on-field preparations for the match against Romania in Bordeaux on Tuesday.

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