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Playing to inspire

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“It might be difficult to explain to non-South Africans, but it generally makes your week a lot better when the Springboks have won at the weekend"

FOR THE NATION: Francois Louw (left) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (right) during a recent training session in Fukuroi, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Picture: EPA-EFE Mark R Cristino

It’s going to be about more than just rugby on Sunday – the Springboks also want to use their semi-final showdown against Wales as an opportunity to “create hope” for their fellow South Africans.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo yesterday, Springbok loose forward Francois Louw said he’s hoping that the Boks can inspire South Africans with their performance in Yokohama (kick-off 11am SA time).

The Springboks secured their semi-final spot with a 26-3 victory over hosts Japan in Tokyo last week.

“Hopefully, it will inspire them greatly,” Louw said.

“It might be difficult to explain to non-South Africans, but it generally makes your week a lot better when the Springboks have won at the weekend.

“Even at times when I haven’t been involved, if the guys do the job, it makes life a little bit easier. People tend to forget about their personal troubles, and we have a large scope of that in South Africa.

“We do hope South Africans take pride in our performances and create hope. There are lots of challenging times in people’s lives, but if we can make that little bit of difference by putting great performances together, and being a beacon of hope, then that is something we will try and do.”

So far, the Boks have a full squad to pick from to do just that, with Cheslin Kolbe the only concern.

Bok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick yesterday confirmed that Kolbe had missed a full training session but that he’d be monitored throughout the week.

If Kolbe – who has been one of the Boks’ key men in 2019 – isn’t available on Sunday, S’bu Nkosi is likely to start on the right wing.

Nkosi last started for Rassie Erasmus’ Boks in their 66-7 demolition of Canada in their last pool game. In that match, he started on the left wing in a new-look team, with Warrick Gelant getting a run at 14.

When asked about the role of those players who do not feature in every match, Nkosi said: “I think we’ve all got an equal amount of game time. It’s been all right so far. We are a very united squad, and we’ve had chances to slot in. It hasn’t been very hard. It’s been quite seamless as we’ve got principles that drive the way we play, so it’s easy for us to slot in.

“When you are not playing, our goal is to make sure the team’s preparations are of a high quality, so they can be as ready as they can be on a Saturday or Sunday.”