SA Rugby director Rassie Erasmus has taken a cheeky dig at Ireland ahead of the Rugby World Cup Pool B clash on Saturday.
South Africa and Ireland meet in a World Cup match for the first time on Saturday in Paris on Saturday.
Andy Farrell’s side claimed a 19-16 victory over the Springboks the last time the two sides faced off in November last year.
In the meeting before then, Joe Schmidt led Ireland to a comprehensive 38-3 win over South Africa back in 2017.
Ireland being South Africa’s bogey team
Speaking ahead of the clash, Erasmus was asked whether the coaching staff had addressed their poor record against Ireland in preparation for the World Cup tie.
“I was thinking about that when I read a few things on social media,” Erasmus told RTE Sport with a smile.
“A few of my friends said that Ireland is our bogey team, but the World Cup is Ireland’s bogey competition.”
The Springboks’ boss clearly referenced the fact that Ireland have never progressed past the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
“But then, if you think about history, when we lost our pool match against New Zealand (in 2019), then we won the World Cup. It had never been done before,” Erasmus added.
“The New Zealanders lost their first pool game ever this year, and I think they’re strong contenders this year.”
Erasmus insisted that history matters little, with the belief that the current squads and coaches are far more important.
“I really think history, it might be nice to make it a sensational thing, but the belief from within the Irish team and from the South African team,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it’s what those 33 players and management believe.”
“I guess it spices it up, but it doesn’t make a difference, the history, for the teams.”
Springboks wary of Ireland’s threat
While Erasmus took a dig at Ireland, assistant coach Deon Davids says that the coaching staff are wary of the threat Ireland poses.
“We are playing the number one in the world; you don’t get there if you don’t perform well,” Davids said.
“They are a very well-coached side, their overall game to their attack and defence. They have got some very experienced players which forms part of their make-up.
“For us, it is going to be important to be on par, set-piece-wise and in attack.
“For us to play against the number one team in the world and aspiring to get through in the tournament, this is one of the games we understand you need to be at your best in all departments.”