No egos: Pollard and Kolbe give insights into Springbok inner workings

The players 'just want to play rugby and make the jersey proud'

Cheslin Kolbe and Handrè Pollard during a press conference in the build-up to the Test match against Ireland on Saturday.
Cheslin Kolbe and Handrè Pollard during a press conference in the build-up to the Test match against Ireland on Saturday.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Handrè Pollard and Cheslin Kolbe have given insights into the team culture and inner workings of the Springboks as they prepare to take on Ireland in their crunch clash at Loftus on Saturday. 

Pollard and Kolbe, who have been named in the starting line-up for the first of two Tests against the Irish, said players treat each other equally and there are no egos that could prove disruptive in a team environment. 

They spoke about the way coach Rassie Erasmus and his technical and management team have created a conducive environment for everyone to feel free and express themselves on and off the field. 

There are no egos though the current squad has 20 players who have won the Rugby World Cup. 

It is also worth mentioning that the entire starting 15 and five on bench for the Irish Test have won the World Cup. 

“There are a lot of players who have achieved throughout their careers but once there are egos, it is going to be everyone for themselves. The beauty of this team is that the coaches have found the players who just want to play rugby and to make the jersey proud,” said Kolbe. “No-one walks around thinking they are 'the men' and have achieved everything. It is about giving back — and learning from the new guys also. There have been so many players in the past who have achieved a lot and you just want to continue to make the jersey and former players proud as well. 

Pollard added that they have an important role to play as senior players. 

“The only thing we can do as senior players is to lead by example. Young guys come with a lot of energy, excitement, eagerness and we just need to pass down what we have learnt to them. 

“We also learn from them because the game keeps changing every single day. The way the guys have been training this week has been good and it shows they have the hunger and want to fight for their places.” 

Kolbe also spoke about tough competition for places in the team. 

“Competition is healthy for everyone in the group because it pushes you to step up a little bit more. The nice thing about it is that is doesn't mater who plays at the weekend, we want that player to be confident throughout the weekend and do well.

“If we are not playing, we try to learn from each other and that is the most important thing. Whoever gets the opportunity in the green and gold jersey is more capable of doing the job.” 

Kolbe is excited about working with backline coach Tony Brown. 

“I won’t give away too much but just the way he sees the game and he thinks about the game is exciting for us as a group, and especially the backs. We need to make sure we do what we have trained for throughout the week.” 


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