The Springboks’ Pieter-Steph du Toit says that he felt within ten minutes of the Rugby World Cup final that South Africa would be crowned champions.
Du Toit believes that the Springboks spooked England and when they tried to run the ball out of their in-goal area.
‘We’ve got them’
England’s early risk-taking didn’t pay off and the Springboks would edge ahead before second-half tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe put the result out of doubt.
“I just thought, ‘are you guys crazy? This a World Cup final, you don’t play like this’” said the flanker Du Toit in an interview with the BBC.
“We were quite physical in that game and they were quite afraid of us. That was what the plan was.”
Early mistakes by key England players would give the Springboks the edge they needed to take control of the match. Owen Farrell threw that wild early pass from behind his own line and then Billy Vunipola coughed up possession with a rudimentary error.
“The moment in the final I realised ‘look I think we have got them’ was when they started running from behind their own tryline,” Du Toit added.
“The other was when Vunipola ran into Damian de Allende and Handre Pollard and just threw the ball away.”
Springboks vs Lions bigger than RWC
Du Toit has missed most of the disrupted 2020 season with injury but is looking forward to being back at his best when the British and Irish Lions visit.
The World Rugby player of the year for 2019 says that the Lions tour will in some ways be bigger than the World Cup.
Interest in the Lions series has been very high with the ticket ballot threefold over-subscribed for the three Test matches.
“I think it is going to be almost bigger than a World Cup,” said Du Toit.
“It only comes every 12 years so for us in South Africa, it is massive.
“I think they will have to build a bigger stadium just for the Lions because if the whole of South Africa could go and watch they probably will.”
The British and Irish Lions are set to tour South Africa in July and August of 2021. The first Test will be played at the FNB Stadium which can hold nearly 95,000 fans at full capacity, but it remains to be seen if the ground will be allowed to operate at that level.
Cape Town Stadium will play host to the second Test while the third will play out at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.