Francois Louw (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Springbok flank Francois Louw has called Saturday’s Rugby World Cup game against Samoa “the game of our lives” and said there is no way the team can allow another defeat.
According to the supersport.com website, Louw has been honest that the Boks were taught a lesson by Japan in their shock loss, and knows the only way to start rectifying things is to bounce back strongly and win the remaining three games in the pool and still top their group.
The Boks know they never should have allowed themselves to be in the situation where they are now, but now that they are, there simply is only one way to go and that is back up. For Louw, the only option is to take control of their own destiny once again.
“There is a lot of emotion in the squad right now and self-belief can be vulnerable when you are shocked the way we were by Japan, but it is up to us to channel our feelings into preparing for the game of our lives in five days time. We have to beat Samoa and take grasp of our destiny in this tournament again.”
“Our backs are against the wall. We are down but not out, there are three games ahead of us –Samoa, Scotland and the USA - and we won’t be underestimating anybody, although I don’t think we ever did.”
While there are many that are lambasting the Boks at the moment, and the criticism is deserved given the team’s status in World Rugby, Louw at least has been honest in accounting for the team’s mistakes and believes if they can prove their critics wrong. The Bath captain called the loss “embarrassing”, echoing the sentiments of a lot of other South African rugby fans but believes there is enough in the team that they can change their fortunes by this weekend.
“Obviously a defeat of this magnitude can make a team vulnerable in terms of morale and belief,” Louw said. “But we need to pull together, we know what needs to be done, we have been together a long time and are a tight group. I honestly believe we have the resilience to deflect the negativity that is coming our way and bounce back.
“There is lot of expectancy, and so there should be, and a loss is not good enough, especially when you have trained so hard to establish immediate momentum and instead hit an embarrassing stumbling block.
“You learn in every game you play, but there are huge lessons in games that are as disappointing as Saturday’s loss.
“There is a massive task ahead of us but the tournament is still in our hands. We can either feel sorry for ourselves or pull ourselves together and grasp this Pool by the scruff of its neck and go through to the quarters.”
Louw denied the Boks were “undercooked” or underestimated Japan on the day, but said there definitely wasn’t one single factor that contributed to the dismal day in Brighton, but rather simply that Japan had their day in the sun.
“It is a good question why we lost. I don’t think we ‘under-cooked’ it at all. It just did not happen for us on the day,” he said. “We were not over confident. From a rugby perspective, what makes it such a good sport is that anything can happen on the day and it is even more the case in a World Cup.
“Big nations can fall and minnows can rise to the occasion. Obviously it is not a great moment in Springbok history but we have to accept that we were outplayed on the day. It is what it is and we need to face up to reality and turn it around.”
“We have to establish confidence. We will remind ourselves of the great brand of rugby we have played at times. We know we have played some exceptional rugby in recent years and we know that we can beat any team in the world. We are not bad players overnight.”