- Title: FRANCE: RUGBY UNION - South Africa prepare for Fiji quarter-final challenge
- Date: 6th October 2007
- Summary: COACH JAKE WHITE AND CAPTAIN JOHN SMIT IN NEWS CONFERENCE CUTAWAY JOURNALISTS COACH JAKE WHITE ANNOUNCES LIST OF PLAYERS FOR SUNDAY'S MATCH AGAINST FIJI CLOSE UP OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMIT COACH AND CAPTAIN VARIOUS WITH JOURNALISTS IN THE FOREGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAKE WHITE, COACH SAYING: "You know it's the quarter final of the World Cup, we played England in 2003 and we were also not supposed to beat England, they were to be the world champions and after sixty minutes it was six all, and there was a charge down kick and it changed the game. So, I think that these players are quite fortunate having been in the quarter final of the world cup, they've been the underdogs in a world cup quarter final. So I don't think they need to have too much reminding of how important quarter-finals are and how important it is for this group to get to the semi-final, because they didn't make it in 2003 and so first, you know, first job is to make sure you win the quarter-final."
- Embargoed: 21st October 2007 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA6Z1CBPI8BJPMNLXTKANYTHXSM
- Story Text: South Africa had been expecting to play Wales in the last eight of the rugby World Cup and had done all their homework in preparation but an upset meant they have had to quickly study Fiji before Sunday's quarter-final.
Fiji's unexpected victory over the Welsh last weekend thrust them into the knockout stage but the Springboks are overwhelming favourites to win in Marseille South Africa coach Jake White wants his players to use the experience of losing to eventual champions England in the 2003 World Cup quarter final as a springboard to reach the semi-finals this time.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday (October 5), White said: "After sixty minutes it was six all, and there was a charge down kick and it changed the game. So, I think that these players are quite fortunate having been in the quarter final of the World Cup, they've been the underdogs in a World Cup quarter final. So I don't think they need to have too much reminding of how important quarter-finals are and how important it is for this group to get to the semi-final," said White.
The Springboks got a taste of what they can expect against Fiji when they played Samoa and Tonga during the pool games.
They weathered a brutal early onslaught to thrash Samoa 59-7 but almost came unstuck against Tonga before holding on for a 30-25 victory.
South Africa also thrashed England 36-0 and the United States 64-15 to finish at the top of the Pool A standings and have made no secret of their strategy to add Fiji to their list of scalps.
Captain John Smit said: "This week certainly I think the biggest priority was to tighten up our defence, we certainly wanted to try and make sure that we didn't give Fiji as many opportunities as they had over the weekend against Wales."
Back Bryan Habana is certainly not underestimating the Fijians.
"I think they're unbelievably skilled, I think they're got a lot of pace and a lot of physicality, so you've definitely got to be prepared to take a few knocks," he said "They're unbelievably talented players, I really have a lot of respect for them. They've got a lot of skill and I'm looking forward to an exciting game on Sunday."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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