Rugby Championship: South Africa claim first title victory since 2009
Updated 16:42, 13-Aug-2019
We turn to rugby and South Africa who romped to a 46-13 victory over Argentina in Salta to claim their first Rugby Championship title since 2009. The men in green and gold touched down in Johannesburg on Monday morning, and will go straight into camp for their penultimate International, before the World Cup kicks off in Japan next month. CGTN's Sais du Plessis has more.
It has been a long and frustrating wait for South Africa, and after persevering for a decade against the likes of Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina, the coveted Southern Hemisphere title is back in Springbok hands. Coach Rassie Erasmus believes his charges have built up good momentum and confidence for the World Cup.
RASSIE ERASMUS SOUTH AFRICA COACH "Winning the trophy is obviously something we haven't done for a while, so that's great, but while saying that, we all know in six months' time, no one will remember who won the trophy this year. So we all understand that, but it does give you momentum, it does give you a bit more self-belief, I think a few boxes ticked, but certainly some way to go still."
Stand-in captain Duane Vermeulen says winning the title is fantastic, but the burly number 8 says the work is far from over, and the focus and commitment needs to be maintained going forward.
DUANE VERMEULEN SOUTH AFRICA CAPTAIN "In a way, we are happy where we are. We won the Championship, but we had a draw against New Zealand, and so we are not there yet, and we know that is our first game in World Cup, or come World Cup, so a lot of excitement, but some work still to be done."
Erasmus admits he will use the clash against the Pumas of Argentina as an opportunity to look at a few new combinations, but maintains he is close to settling on a final 31-man World Cup squad.
RASSIE ERASMUS SOUTH AFRICA COACH "This weekend we will mix and match a little bit, but we will pick a strong team like we did against Australia, because we want to keep the momentum, and this is the last game before we go away, and we want to go away on a high."
SIAS DU PLESSIS JOHANNESBURG "Erasmus is more than satisfied with his team's Rugby Championship efforts, but pointed out that with only 160 minutes of rugby left before the men in green and gold play their opening World Cup fixture against their old foes New Zealand, they can't afford to rest on their laurels, and that the next two games will be used to fine-tune and find his best possible team, as the quest begins for the biggest prize in rugby. Sias du Plessis, CGTN, Johannesburg."