Louw still has
butterflies in his stomach and admits he is as excited as he was when he
first heard he was heading to New Zealand in 2011 for his first World Cup.
“This is definitely
the squad with the most depth that I’ve been part of in the last 10
years. There really is multiple guys who can slot into various
combinations to produce a good brand of rugby and the championship
showed that. We had two, maybe three sets of starting combinations that
produced results. I know the guys are aware of that and that helps
competition. There is a lot of excitement, especially coming off what we
have achieved in the last few months,” Louw believes.
reality is that we look at it in perspective and know that it could have
been the bounce of a ball in any one of those championship games could
have gone the other way. We might not have been sitting where we were
lifting the Championship trophy. I think there is a lot of confidence
but in the same sense a lot of ability in the side, recognising how the
fixtures play out, how they were won, the good and bad things and really
what needs to be done to win it at this level.
“It’s fantastic. I
think the feeling of excitement is as much as it was the first time and
to get the opportunity to go for a third time is amazing. I’m really
excited about it and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Louw does have some sage advice for his peers, especially when things get tough in the middle of the tournament.
think first of all, we are getting better. We were knocked out in the
quarters the first time, the semis the second time and hopefully this
time we will go all the way. I think the biggest lesson is quite a
cliché. All you really can do is focus on those things you can control.
There are a lot of external factors, there are a lot of things that can affect the outcome of the fixture, whether that is the pressure of the
moment, being away from home for so long, if certain things in the game
aren’t going your way - those are the things that are out of your
control and where you need to stay cool, calm and collected and in the
“So if I had to pass something on it would probably be
that. To focus on ourselves, to prepare for every fixture that comes our
way and to not to miss out on any opportunity. Because just as easy as
things can go against you, an opportunity can present itself to you
during the game to take the win away with you. You don’t want to be left
wanting if that opportunity comes.”
He recognises that the
pressure is amped up in the tournament, more than many players will be
used to from Test rugby, but he says the mindset changes as well and the
Boks are well positioned for knockout rugby.
“Absolutely, you are
in a pool and have to finish in the top two to go through and then it
is knockout rugby. It doesn’t matter who you play in the quarters, semis
or final, each game is really tough. There is a different mindset when
you play knockout rugby and you get into that mode, you aren’t looking
for elaborate wins or exciting rugby but you want to get the win and get
to the next stage and move through the rest of the tournament.
are only three games then that you need to play to win the tournament
so there is immensely more pressure than in a Test match.”
with a loose trio competition that is set to be tough for Erasmus to
pick the best three on the field and one on the bench, Louw says the
fact that there is a common goal supersedes everything else in terms of
the normal competition in teams.
“There is competition. Everyone
wants to start and play all the time. Everyone realises the importance
of the position we are in and ultimately there is a goal and that is to
win the World Cup. We all are working towards that. We have a good group
of guys that buy into that goal and a good bunch of players. If we put
together any combination of those guys we should get a decent outcome in
“Rassie will decide what his combination is, but more importantly we all buy into what he is trying to achieve.”
will want to be third time lucky with the Boks, but knows it takes hard
work and a lot of luck during a tournament to get to the end. But the
signs in the side right now are encouraging.
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