Mbonambi lauds Rassie Erasmus as Boks prepare for RWC semifinal

Bongi Mbonambi has credited coach Rassie Erasmus for the Springboks' turnaround in performances.

South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi takes part in a training session at Fuchu Asahi Football Park in Tokyo on 22 October 2019, ahead of their Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup semifinal against Wales. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Bongi Mbonambi has credited coach Rassie Erasmus for the Springboks' turnaround in performances.

The Boks are gearing up to take on Wales in the second semifinal of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

With the Boks much stronger than they were in 2017 when they won 7 matches, lost 4, including a 24-22 defeat to Wales, of their 13 Tests.

As they gear up for the last four meeting with their European rivals, Mbonambi has given credit to Erasmus for the team's turnaround.

The four teams that will contest the 2019 Rugby World Cup semifinals in Japan on 26 and 27 October. Picture: AFP

"[For] this team it doesn’t really matter about your skin colour or where you come from," he said at a press conference in Tokyo.

"Rassie will pick a guy who is there to work hard, who does the job perfectly well. You will earn your way into this team. Comparing him to previous coaches, they would pick someone who has been there for years even though you can see that he is not pulling his weight."

Mbonambi added that the coach's honest and open approach was beneficial to team spirit within the side.

"He’s the sort of coach who has an opinion about each and every player and will tell it to you honestly," he explained.

"He’s not the type of coach who will do things behind closed doors. He does it openly, in front of the whole team, and everyone knows about it."

Assistant coach Matt Proudfoot admitted that the Springboks would be approaching with Wales with respect.

However, with South Africa having played two and won both of their encounters against the Welsh in World Cups, Proudfoot knows past results will count for nothing.

"It’s two teams going against each other," he said. "That is the interesting thing about where we are at the World Cup. The four teams that are there have battled their way through it. All you can do is play the opposition in front of you and play them to the best of your ability."

Proudfoot has also denied suggestions that Wales were struggling to make their mark at the tournament.

They had to fight back on Saturday against France before winning 20-19 to progress to the semifinals.

"They’ve got a style that they play, and they play it well," he said. "France knew they had to risk it and they did but Wales still won the Test match. Test matches are not won on paper. They are played with a specific plan, great alignment and Wales play that way."