Jacques Nienaber has stressed that the Springboks are doing everything but holidaying on the island of Corsica to ensure they survive a brutal draw at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The Boks arrived in Corsica on Saturday following their 35-7 victory against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Friday, and the players got down to business on Monday with their training programme.
The World Cup kicks off on Friday, 8 September when France take on the All Blacks, and the Springboks will kick off their campaign two days later against Scotland in Marseille on Sunday, 10 September.
“It’s not a holiday, it’s a proper training camp,” said Nienaber.
“There are a lot of things we need to work on because we are in a knock-out pool from game one, so there’s a lot we need to get right if we want to be competitive and defend the World Cup title.
“From a rugby perspective we can work hard here and can prepare, and from a team perspective it’s nice for us to meet and mix with the people of Corsica.”
The Springboks are in a challenging Pool B at the World Cup, joined by top-ranked Ireland and fifth-ranked Scotland.
“One of us is not going to make it out of the pool. But it is what it is, so we have to be on form from the outset,” said Nienaber.
“And if we do get out of the pool, we’ll either face France or New Zealand in the quarter-final, so it’s going to be really tough.”
The Bok coach shot down suggestions that his team were the favourites to win the title: “I think France are the favourites, but obviously we are the world champions, and we can’t deny that. That said, I believe this is going to be one of the most closely contested World Cups in history with a couple of teams that can win it on the day.”
The Springboks will wrap up their training camp in Corsica on Friday and make their way via a ten-and-a-half hour ferry journey to their World Cup training base in Toulon on Saturday.