Aplon gee'd up for Wallabies
Cape Town - With the pressure knob considerably turned up ahead of this weekend's Rugby World Cup action, Springbok wing Gio Aplon has no doubt that it will only further spur the defending champions to march into the next round.
Knockout rugby should not be a strange phenomenon to anyone in the Springbok camp. Whether it be the World Cup, Super Rugby, Currie Cup or even Heineken Cup, the premise remains the same, win at all costs, Aplon explained in Tuesday’s Die Burger.
“It is the one thing that we are sticking to from the moment we left South Africa a month ago. There were thousands of people in Sandton to see us off and especially here in New Zealand we are seeing the supporters following us and every day I see messages of support on Facebook and Twitter.
“It gives your focus for the weekend, a sense of purpose, because nobody wants to disappoint all of those supporters or the team,” he said.
He believes they are as accustomed to their quarter-final opponents as they are to knockout rugby.
“We know them (well). They probably know us too, but I think that we are mentally stronger than they are despite recent results in which they have beaten us once or twice.”
Aplon did not hide the fact that the Wallabies may have missed a golden opportunity to welcome back one of their favourite sons, to add a welcome boost to an already star-studded backline.
“We are overjoyed at the news that (Matt) Giteau was not chosen. Robbie Deans probably has his reasons for his selection, but with regard to the Springboks, it suits us excellently that Giteau will not be in Wellington on Sunday. He has certainly bullied us in the past and there is definitely relief in our camp that he will not be part of the action,” he added.
The Western Province flyer hopes to use the added motivation combined with the collective support of a nation to spur the Boks to greater honours to go with what they have achieved already.
“We have fared well up until now. We have scored the most points in our group and conceded the least. The first lot of goals have been achieved. The next one is to reach the semi-final of this World Cup. I believe that we can do it, especially with 45 million people (back home in SA) who will help us get over the line.”