22 Oct 2015

Psychologists called into Springbok camp

11:40 am on 22 October 2015

Sports psychologists who have worked with IndyCar drivers have been called in to help the Springboks ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks.

Springbok Jannie du Plessis.

Springbok Jannie du Plessis. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Springboks have slowly grown in confidence since their humbling loss to Japan at the start of the tournament.

Prop and medical doctor Jannie du Plessis says sports psychologists, who had worked with Indycar drivers trying to avoid deadly situations, have the South Africans in the right frame of mind.

"What they said is that when you are in a pressure situation you should think about where you want to go and not where you do not want to go.

"If you lose control you don't want to focus on the wall, but rather look for the lane where you want your car to end up and the fatalities are much less after that," added the 32-year-old veteran of 68 Tests.

"Making mistakes against a team like New Zealand, they can probably score five tries in 10 minutes," said du Plessis.

"If you focus on not making mistakes, unfortunately it's human nature if you say 'don't drop the ball', then you drop the ball."

The All Blacks crushed France 62-13 in a lopsided quarter-final in Cardiff last weekend. By contrast, the Springboks had to work far harder to see off Wales 23-19 at Twickenham.

Du Plessis also took a philosophical approach as to how the Springboks bounced back from the greatest upset in World Cup history.

"I've thought a lot about the Japan game," said du Plessis.

"A friend of mine showed me a band called The Melvins that used two drummers to lay a good foundation.

"If you look at them, you only have to go back to what works for you and your basic thing that keeps the team together and lays a good foundation.

However, he wasn't convinced the music was inspiring for everyone.

"The band is heavy metal - not that I am into that sort of music... It's the type of music that will scare your kids."


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