Italy coach in awe of Bok power
Italy coach Conor O’Shea believes the Springboks are going to be hard to stop at this Rugby World Cup (RWC).
His side was downed 49-3 in a pool B clash on Friday and the former Ireland international was left a little stunned by the sheer muscle of Rassie Erasmus’s team.
“Where do they rate? They are one of the most powerful sides I’ve seen on a rugby pitch. If you look at the changes they make and the explosiveness they have. They are going to be very‚ very difficult to stop‚” said O’Shea.
Even when they telegraphed their intentions there is little Italy could do once the Bok pack clicked into gear.
“They are powerful. We knew that and you know what’s coming.
"They’ve got x-factor at the back as well. When that power gets onto the front foot its wave and wave of attack.
"They are very structured so you know it is going to come back at you when they get that power going.
“Their match against New Zealand was a lot tighter than the score line suggests. It hinged on small moments‚ as many of these games do. They are formidable. South Africa are powerful‚” O’Shea reiterated.
Erasmus acknowledged the performance wasn’t blemish free. His team had it all their own way especially after Italy was reduced to 14 players by 46th minute.
“I know it wasn’t perfect. With our six‚ two split on our bench we were looking to get that physical performance out there.
"Technically and tactically there were mistakes and errors. I thought the way the guys physically pitched was what we wanted out of this game‚” said Erasmus.
“If we as South Africans want to go all the way that is something we need in our game. I felt in the previous five or six Test matches this year it wasn’t really consistent.
"I thought in this Test our physicality was one of our strengths. I’m proud about that.”
There had been concern at the final whistle over the fitness of star performer Cheslin Kolbe who left the field shortly before the end of the match.
Erasmus however allayed all fears.
“His ankle is fine. He played a wonderful game on attack‚ defence‚ aerially‚ he was fantastic.
“He is one of the players in the world along with Sevu Reece and Damian McKenzie and who just have X-factor. They can do something out of nothing. It is wonderful to have him in our team.
“Nothing major happened to his ankle. He rolled his ankle a little bit.”