Cape Town - Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen has lauded the impact made by assistant coach Franco Smith.
Smith joined the Boks as their skills and attacking coach and there has been marked improvement in the team’s fortunes in 2017.
They comfortably beat France in their first two Tests of the year, scoring four tries in each of the one-sided encounters.
Oosthuizen, who was a try-scorer in last weekend’s 37-15 win in Durban, addressed reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday where the Boks were preparing for this weekend’s final Test.
Regarding Smith’s impact, Oosthuizen said: “He’s made a huge improvement, attacking wise, bringing each and every one of the players into an attacking structure. He wants every person to be the best person that he can be. And he likes to focus on the things that make you good as a player, and work around that.”
Smith has also made the game more enjoyable, Oosthuizen stressed.
“I think for South African rugby it’s something phenomenal for a guy to step in here and players to bide into what he is actually selling. I think we adapted quite nicely and it’s fun to score tries, it’s what the game is all about. You enjoy the game more when your team scores tries and that’s something I think he got right.”
Staunch defence was also a hallmark in the Durban Test, with defence and exits strategist Brendan Venter clearly making a difference.
“Defence is something that you can’t buy, you can’t work on it... it’s something you feel for the guy next to you. It’s a personal responsibility and it’s a pride thing,” Oosthuizen continued. “I’m not going to let you down, so you don’t let me down. It’s those extra things which people from the outside don’t see... getting off the ground, working for your mate next to you... that’s defence - it’s just work and it’s for the mate next to you.”
Oosthuizen also feels there is much room for improvement for the Boks.
“I think we take each game as a final. This team has got potential to go very far. The talent and the young players we have here and the all-round capability of this team is something to be proud of,” he said.
“I think each and every player knows what we stand for and to care about something more than yourself... so at the end of the day it’s something you would like to be (part of) and be proud being here. For me to step into this environment again gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment.