When asked to sum up SA Rugby director Rassie Erasmus in three words in Paris on Tuesday, All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan was put on the spot.
In just three words? I’m not sure. passionate and sincere. I don’t possess another one. This will do. I haven’t thought about Rassie at all, to be honest,” he admitted, brushing off the mind games and other distractions surrounding South Africa’s head coach who led his team to victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
With a last-second, 16-15 comeback victory over England last Saturday, the Springboks secured a spot in their second consecutive final. It was a tight game in which the scrum played a significant role in the last quarter.
As a result of all the pressure, the English were penalized in the game’s last scrum by referee Ben O’Keeffe, allowing Handre Pollard to score the winning points.
When asked if Nche’s scuffling had caught his attention, Ryan retorted, “Tell you what, man, it does. I suppose he is a human, though. Wow. He is fairly skilled at what he does, but we also have a good plan that we are confident in. We’re prepared for it.
The assistant for the All Blacks continued by expressing his general assessment of the scrum officials at France 2023. “It’s been pretty consistent,” he observed. “The timings may have been inaccurate in a few instances here and there.
“Conversations have been ongoing, and they and the ARs (assistant referees) attempt to do the best they can. The dialogue has been rather transparent. In a situation when 16 men are attempting to hit each other with full force, a choice can be made quite fast.
Their set-piece is outstanding. Their team is large. They have a very distinct sense of who they are as a team and how they want to play, and they use the ball in a variety of terrific ways.
Ryan is incredibly proud of the way the All Blacks recovered from their opening-night loss last month to get to the Stade de France final the following Saturday.
He said, “We made it to the final, so that’s not a bad stride.” “In a few areas, we have made some good progress. We are on the right track and eager for a strong showing against the Boks, whom we much respect.
“The lads have been very thoughtful. On the training field, we pushed them in particular directions, and our sessions featured some frank discussions. I’m quite proud of what we have accomplished so far and we still have one to go. We have prepared ourselves to give ourselves a shot.
“A large component of discipline is accuracy. You talk about discipline a lot, but you have to be precise. Discipline can also suggest that you are occasionally somewhat passive. This match will feature a title bout.
“Accuracy and momentum shifts are going to be a key part of it. Momentum shifts will occur, and because of how quickly they can occur, the scoreboard may swiftly change. Being precise in the park is really crucial since both sides can score and gain momentum.