As the country burns amid violent protests and looting, Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says they are aiming to bring back some hope.
CAPE TOWN – Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says they are aiming to bring some hope amid violent unrest and looting around the country.
On Monday afternoon, director of rugby Rassie Erasmus named a strong squad featuring a large contingent of World Cup winners in the SA ‘A’ team for their friendly against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town on Wednesday (kick-off 8pm).
With the country already dealing with the effects of Covid-19 amid a third wave of infections, the game – which is, of course, much-anticipated considering the lack of preparation the Springboks have had and the heavy World Cup flavour in the squad – will go down in Cape Town while Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are especially hard hit by the lootings.
Naturally, during Tuesday’s virtual press conference, Stick was asked whether the match would feel insignificant considering everything else going on at the moment.
“We are actually living in a sad time currently from what we can see on the news and social media,” Stick said.
He went on to reflect on their World Cup triumph in Japan in 2019 and explained that they again want to unite the country.
“One of the main reasons for us as Springboks is to give hope and add smiles to faces,” he said. “We will never forget when we won the World Cup, people of all colours – pink, black, brown and yellow – we were only speaking one language; rugby. Everyone was happy. That’s the kind of hope we want to build.
“If our job is to get an opportunity to unite the country then that is what we will aim for. We have an opportunity to play the Lions and show South Africa once we work together and spread positive energy; anything is possible and we can achieve what we set our minds to as a nation.”
SA ’A’: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 S’bu Nkosi, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Japser Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Damian Willemse, 24 Kwagga Smith, 25 Elton Jantjies.
LIONS: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Tadhg Beirne, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Elliot Daly.