'Pressure is having your relatives murdered': Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus' message about stress

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus.
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus. Photo credit: File

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said the New Zealand defeat in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup had helped them handle the pressure right through to winning the final on Saturday.

Erasmus also said the victories had given his team belief that they could compete with the world's best sides as well as giving hope and uniting the people of South Africa.

The Springboks were the first side to win the trophy having lost a match in the pool phases.

"I think the first test against the All Blacks was great for us in terms of how we handled pressure," Erasmus said. "We were tense all week and it was a terrible build-up for that pool game.

"That actually taught us a lot how to handle the quarter-final, semi-final and final.

"Overall we started talking about pressure and what is pressure? Pressure in South Africa is not having a job. Pressure is having one of your close relatives murdered.

"In South Africa, there are a lot of problems which is pressure and we started talking about things like that.

"Rugby shouldn't be something that creates pressure. It is something that creates hope."

At times it was brutal, often it was downright ugly, but who cares? In the end there can have been few more poignant sights than that of Siya Kolisi, the boy from a dusty, poverty-stricken South African township, on Saturday lifting the Rugby World Cup following an emphatic victory over England.

The first black man to captain the Springboks hoisted the trophy high into the Yokohama night, watching and was instantly showered by golden streamers as fireworks lit up the sky at the end of a momentous triumph.

It was a scene destined for posterity, and sporting showreels the world over, and one which prompted tears from South Africans on the field and off it

This night was all South Africa's as they won their third World Cup to draw level with New Zealand as the most successful side in the tournament's history. With three cups from three finals, they are the only nation with a 100 percent record in the showcase match.

England lost finals in 1991 and 2007, the latter to South Africa, and now join France as three-time runners-up.

England will now try to figure out how a side that obliterated the seemingly invincible All Blacks in the semi-finals could show up with so little invention.

Coach Eddie Jones has now lost two World Cup finals, having also been in charge of Australia when England triumphed in 2003, and he was frustrated to have fallen at the final hurdle of his oft-stated aim of taking England back to the top of the game.

"We didn't meet our goal of being best team in the world, but we are the second-best team in the world and that is how we should be remembered," he said.

"We will be kicking stones for four years now and that's hard. But the only thing we're worried about now is having a few beers, then probably a few beers tomorrow and then probably a few more on Monday. Then we' pull up stumps."

Reuters

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