Canada coach Kingsley Jones warns his players about Springboks' potency
Canada’s coach Kingsley Jones has first-hand knowledge of the potency of Springbok rugby.
His team plays the Springboks in a Rugby World Cup (RWC) pool B match here on Tuesday and he would have warned his players of ‘what’s to come’ if they don’t perform to optimum levels against a team desperate to cement their place in the quarter-finals.
“It all starts up front. They are very well coached. I think Rassie (Erasmus) has done an incredible job. We know South African rugby‚ whether it is Super Rugby or the national team we probably know what we are going to get.
“It starts up front. They squeeze you and it comes down to the gain line. They are very difficult to stop at the gain line.
"Once they get over the gain line through three or four phases they have some creative players that can make things happen. That is the challenge for us‚” explained Jones.
The former loose forward represented Wales captaining the side in the last of his 10 Tests in the 96-13 drubbing they received at the hands of the Springboks in 1998.
He knows that although Erasmus made wholesale changes to his starting team‚ Canada are now up against players desperate to make a lasting impression‚ if not play their way back into the coach’s estimation of what his best XV looks like.
“We feel we are up for that challenge‚” said Jones. We will be facing players who may not see themselves in the best XV but we know they are very good players. They’ll be chomping at the bit. It is a strong squad that South Africa have.”
Canada have the unenviable task at this RWC of playing the All Blacks and the Springboks back-to-back.
They lost 63-0 to New Zealand last week but Jones took comfort from the fact that his team kept the defending champions scoreless for 40 minutes.
“I think it is really exciting. I’m so impressed by the Canadian guys’ attitude and approach to things.
"All we’ve asked for is for the boys to be excited about being involved in these games and fighting to the end of these games.
"So far we’ve seen the evidence of that. I judge the atmosphere by the volume at breakfast and the volume at the evening meal and the change room and team run.
“I walked into a party in the change room. Beat box going‚ guys smiling. For me that is a massive confidence booster.
"It is infectious and we are excited about it. What we have done is learn and get better each week.
"There is growth potential in this group. We have taken lessons from the All Blacks. We are building on those good things we are doing as well.”
Jones then explained what sets the top tier one nations apart from the rest.
“It’s their speed into position‚ their speed to set up. It’s as if they win the race before it begun.
"That is time together‚ confidence in the accuracy and speed at what they do. That is what the better teams do.
"They are on the money. They almost out work teams when the ball is out of play‚ rather than when the ball is in play. That is a big thing for us. We have to be better and quicker‚” said Jones.