Springboks not resting on their laurels against proud French

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee
Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

An unprecedented series whitewash is not something Springbok captain Warren Whiteley expected, but today’s third test against France at Ellis Park will be about sharpening up their processes.

The evolution of this Bok side under Allister Coetzee and Whiteley means there is no resting on laurels. There is a lot they have done right over the past fortnight but the hunger and the desire to improve is still there.

“The fact that it’s a 2-1 series win hasn’t been mentioned this week, so for us, it’s an individual game that we as a Springbok team need to perform in. That is our goal. We are looking at this game as an individual one and we want to keep improving,” Whiteley said.

“We love our rugby and we love our sport. I believe we’ve set a good foundation, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.”

It has been a time of good change for the Boks, with four debutants in the first test and Ruan Dreyer joining the queue at his home ground.

The wonders this wholesale change has worked for the Boks have been translated into results and Dreyer could seemingly fit like a glove.

With the fact that Dreyer is the fourth Lions player to make his debut in this series, and with Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan and Ross Cronje having raised the bar, the tighthead prop has high standards to meet.

Whiteley has faith in his teammate and understandably so. Dreyer stepped into the void created by Julian Redelinghuys’s unfortunate neck injury last year and made sure the Lions’ set-piece functioned faultlessly.

Whiteley isn’t overawed by the honour of captaining the test side on his home patch, especially coupled with the fact the French have a decent record at Ellis Park They haven’t lost to South Africa in Johannesburg in four attempts and there’s pride at stake for the wounded side, something Whiteley is aware of.

“The French aren’t going to roll over and die. They’re a proud rugby nation,” Whiteley said.

South Africa – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds.

France – 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa. 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot.

Subs: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Vincent Rattez.

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