Flag issue doesn’t bother Boks: scrum coach Human

08 October 2023 - 19:44 By Liam Del Carme in Paris
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Springbok scrum coach Daan Human.
Springbok scrum coach Daan Human.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Talk of the Springboks not playing under the national flag does not bother no-nonsense scrum coach Daan Human.

The Boks could play their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against France on Sunday without the national being hoisted at Stade de France due to the country’s failure to comply with World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) mandates. The country is supposed to legislate updated regulations from Wada and have until October 14 to do so.

The Boks might also have to remove the flag from their jerseys.

Human, however, seems unfazed about the location of the nearest South African flag come kickoff on Sunday.

I’m not too sure 100% what’s happening there, I can’t really comment on it. All I know is the Springbok players are 100% focused on the job, on what needs to be done this week. I don’t think there’s focus on jerseys whatsoever,” Human said.

It doesn’t matter in which colour jersey, or a jersey without a flag on or even without the national anthem, I can tell you and I can assure you of one thing: the boys who are here — the 53, our whole squad [including coaching and back room staff] here who represent South Africa — they represent 60-million people back home and they’re willing to fight for them. I can assure you of that.”

South Africa is expected to appeal the potential Wada sanction.

Human was equally unambiguous about the task facing the Boks on the weekend. He believes France will be an even harder nut to crack than the one the Boks encountered in Marseille in November last year. France won that rip-roaring clash 29-26 but the result could easily have gone the other way.

I think they got better,” Human said matter-of-factly about the hosts who hit their straps in their 60-7 victory against Italy on Friday evening.

“They are much better now than they were a year ago. Like us, they got better too. When you train hard, you always have a chance to get better. If you don’t train, then you have to be worried. I know they have been training hard.

“A good friend of mine, William Servat [former France hooker] is coaching their forwards and I know they [have] got better. But I believe in our guys too. I can promise you, we didn’t just look each other in the eyes or had meetings, there was work done as well.”

Human said France have improved in every department. “It is for a good reason they are No 2 in the world at the moment. They’ve won four from four in the World Cup, including a good win against New Zealand in their opening game.

“They are going to target us in all departments,” the former Bok prop predicted.

To underline his point, Human said France now possess the most dominant pack in world rugby. Behind that pack, France may again unleash their talisman and captain Antoine Dupont, who is hoping to play his first game since he suffered a facial fracture against Namibia.

“That pack has a world-class No 9 behind them. World Cups are about getting the best players in the world on the pitch. Hopefully he will be on the field, so that the world can see one of the best players in the world,” Human said about Dupont.

Karim Ghezal, France’s support coach, explained Dupont is in good nick, apart of course from his facial fracture.

His physical qualities are impressive,” Ghezal said of Dupont. “He’s worked hard physically, done a lot of running, a lot of speed work. Those are his strong points.

“The next step is the appointment with his surgeon, who will decide. Physically he hasn’t lost much in the week he’s been off — quite the opposite, in fact. Physically he’s in great shape.”

There was also fear after France beat Italy that star wing Damian Penaud had done himself a mischief.

Everything's fine. It happens to him in training too. I think it’s a slight knock to his tibia,” Ghezal said.

“All the players are going to have a medical assessment this morning. From what I’ve heard, we don’t have any concerns with any players. Damian is 100%.”


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