Cape Town - The first question posed to Marcell Coetzee at Saturday's post-match media conference was a cheeky: "Marcell, what does it feel like to play for a winning team?"
There may have been little joy for the Sharks loose forward this Super Rugby season, but he was all smiles after the Boks beat the World XV 46-10 at Newlands on Saturday.
Coetzee has spent most of his Bok career in the number six jersey, but on Saturday he found himself on the other side of the scrum and with a whole lot more attention on him.
There has been increased focus on the Bok loose trio ever since news surfaced of the potential unavailability of Duane Vermeulen and Willem Alberts at the World Cup. Coetzee's performance on Saturday would have eased those worries.
The Sharks star was all over the pitch, putting in numerous big hits while his work rate meant that he could be a nuisance at the breakdown as well.
One of the major concerns that comes with the absence of Alberts and Vermeulen is the loss of physicality, and while he will have to show it on a bigger stage over the next few weeks, Coetzee appears to have his fair share of that too.
"I think the important thing is to just stick to what you are good at," said Coetzee.
"Obviously my skills at the breakdown, I've worked hard on that ... the ball-carrying role as well. I think if you have all that stuff in your arsenal it’s good for you going forward.
"Personally, I also like the physicality."
Few big hits
Coetzee could not identify his best position, saying instead that he would play anywhere for the Boks.
"With the loose forwards we have in South Africa the competition is very strong. You want to just give your all and use your opportunity," he said.
"If they want me to play six, seven or eight I’m happy to give my all.
"That is what is good about the current system in the squad. If a guy falls out, the next guy must be ready."
Coach Heyneke Meyer was full of praise for Coetzee.
"I thought Marcell was awesome. Not just at the breakdown but also a few big hits and he also carried the ball up," said Meyer.
"So what we lose probably in the lineouts and in a big ball carrier, I think with him (Coetzee) and Flo (Francois Louw) there we made up for it. Especially in the first 20, we were very clinical at the breakdown and got quick ball.
"There were great combinations. I think we still have to work a lot on our lineouts but the loose forwards had a great game."
The Boks leave for Brisbane on Monday where they take on Australia on Saturday in their Rugby Championship opener.