Monday, July 22, 2024

Springboks: Franco Mostert makes World Cup claim about ‘stronger’ Ireland

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Springboks second-row Franco Mostert believes the world champions will have to be at their best if they want to secure a series victory against Ireland in Durban on Saturday.

As the leading country in the official World Rugby rankings, South Africa will be hoping to hammer home their dominance against Andy Farrell’s troops who are the second-placed international team.

Momentous victory

The Springboks clinched a 27-20 triumph over Ireland at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria last week – which was their first win over the men from the Emerald Isle since 2016 – and Mostert feels only an outstanding performance will be enough to help them seal another victory.

“We certainly don’t think the win last week was a case of getting the monkey off our back,” said Mostert.

“They are feeling exactly the way we did in the Rugby World Cup, and we saw during the British & Irish Lions tour (in 2021) what that first defeat did for us. So, they’ll come back stronger, and it’s going to be a good test for us.”

The 33-year-old is bracing himself for a huge forward duel and identified the breakdowns and mauls as key facets for the Springboks to improve on this weekend.

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“They did a good job last week at stopping our mauls and they are a team that generally don’t concede a lot of maul tries. So, hopefully we can come up with a few plans this weekend,” he said.

“At the breakdowns they put Faf (de Klerk) and Grant (Williams) under pressure, so as a team we have to do improve in that area as well this weekend.”

Mostert also paid tribute to the Boks’ much vaunted ‘Bomb Squad’, who made a big impact when they entered the fray in the early stages of the second half in Pretoria, especially their pushover scrum which saw the Boks score a penalty try.

‘I get goosebumps’

“I get goosebumps when I think about that,” he said. “Coach Daan (Human – scrum coach) puts a lot of hard work in to get the scrums to function well, and it’s great to see the rewards.”

Despite being a valuable member of back-to-back World Cup-winning squads and one of the most experienced players in the current Bok set-up, the 75-Test veteran knows he cannot represent his country forever and is aware that head coach Rassie Erasmus is building a new team ahead of their next campaign at the global showpiece in Australia in 2027.

“Each player has their own personal goals, and personally I plan to take it year by year,” said the hard-working forward. “As long as my body can handle it, I’ll play until I’m no longer selected. But playing in three Rugby World Cups would be very special.”

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