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Wounded Boks focus on 'new day'

2015-09-22 19:20
Johann van Graan (Gallo)

Birmingham - South Africa adopted a new mantra on Tuesday and drew a soccer analogy as they sought to put behind them the embarrassment of defeat by Japan in their opening Rugby World Cup match.

"It's a new day and a new game," assistant coach said at the start of a news conference in which the theme of redemption and fresh starts dominated.

"It was a really tough day for us on Saturday. It was very emotional but we have got to put that emotion aside. The nice thing in this World Cup is that you get another chance," added experienced hooker Bismarck du Plessis, one of nine players in the squad who were World Cup winners eight years ago.

South Africa's 34-32 loss to Japan in Brighton on Saturday sent shock waves through the rugby world and left the Boks scurrying for positives.

"If you look at history, the last two World Cup finalists also lost a game in the pool stages. France (runners-up four year ago) actually lost two games. And if you look at the soccer World Cup (in 2010) Spain actually lost their first game to Switzerland that they should never have lost and still went on to win the tournament," Du Plessis added.

"We have to take heart out of that, we can see it's been done and we want to hang on to that hope and give hope for our nation.

"We were very disappointed with our performance last week but the loss to Japan is now in the past and we can only change the future," he added.

South Africa's next Pool B game is against Samoa at Villa Park on Saturday.

Du Plessis sidestepped a question about possible provocation from the Samoans, whose previous two matches against the Springboks have been intensely bruising and tempestuous.

"For us we have to trust our own process, trust what the coach wants us to do," he said.

"We've got to execute that on the day. What they do we can't control, we can only control what we do."

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