The Springboks’ Strategy to Conquer the Intense Atmosphere at Stade de France

2023-10-13 05:41:00

The Springboks don’t have to go too far back in time to remember what it’s like to play in a Stade de France that supports their opponents with all its heart and voice. Barely three weeks ago, the Saint-Denis enclosure vibrated with green, with more than 50,000 spectators cheering behind Ireland (8-13), until the final Zombie. But the reigning world champions know that on Sunday, the tone will go up a notch, because the Blues will be at home and, everywhere they have played until now, from Lille to Marseille via Lyon, the audience transcended behind them.

It is also the Vélodrome which served as the master standard for the South Africans this week. Because their test in November 2022 against France in the den of OM (30-26) had marked them both in the game and in the atmosphere. “Last year, I didn’t play this match but I was in the stands, and even then, we could barely talk to each other! recalled third-line center Jasper Wiese. We have to channel all that. »

“We tried to reproduce the atmosphere in training”

Bongi Mbonambi, heel of the Boks

How ? “We try not to let ourselves be overcome by our emotions,” explained Cobus Reinach. We talked about it on Thursday, we have a job to do, we focus on that and our system. We want to achieve a performance that our 60 million compatriots can be proud of. »

But if the South Africans seek to convince themselves that their country will push behind from a distance as hard as the French public will cheer their Blues at the stadium, they have also prepared the ground in a more pragmatic way. “We tried to reproduce the atmosphere in training,” admitted Bongi Mbonambi on Thursday, “so that it wouldn’t surprise us. We had some noise during our training. » The sudaf staff therefore added sound to its players’ sessions this week, a method already used on the England side, for example, when the fifteen of the Rose were going to throw themselves into the cauldron of the Millennium in Cardiff, which, with its closed roof, can deafen you with Welsh passion.

But it’s also been part of Rassie Erasmus’ arsenal of tricks for a long time. In 2005, at the head of the modest Cheetahs, he turned up the sound system at the training stadium, ahead of the Currie Cup final that his team was to play against the Bulls in Pretoria. And in a full and intimidating Loftus, filled with almost 50,000 of the most vocal and hostile fans in South Africa, his small Bloemfontein team had finally silenced everyone to lift the trophy.

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