Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has praised captain Siya Kolisi and No 8 Duane Vermeulen for their half-time team talks in Saturday's 26-3 win over Japan in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Tokyo.
While the final score made it seem like things were relatively comfortable for the Boks, that was far from the case and their 5-3 half-time lead was indicative of that.
Japan dominated possession in the opening 40 minutes and were able to hold onto the ball for long periods while the Boks offered very little on attack during that time and gave the ball away needlessly.
The favourites were far more clinical in the second half and after the match Erasmus was asked if he had resorted to the use of some harsh words at the break.
"Normally if guys miss tackles or there is a lack of commitment, and there are effort errors, then harsh words can help," Erasmus explained.
"But when it is a bad pass, or a missed opportunity or a skill error, then it’s about getting the guys' confidence levels up.
"I guess that was the challenge at half-time, and that was more where Siya (Kolisi) and Duane (Vermeulen) did really well.
"I don’t think it was ever a lack of effort in the first half. It was more the pressure that Japan put on us with the amount of effort, tenacity and intensity that they put on us.
"We actually did really well in terms of intensity, but not as great with our execution.
"It wasn’t really harsh words, but more trying to calm the guys down and trying to execute better.
"Siya and the boys did most of the talking and sorted that out."
Kolisi then revealed what his message at half-time was.
"The message was just to be patient and trust in our plans. Our mauls and scrums were working, and we didn’t take our opportunities in that first half," he said.
"We didn’t want to change (what we were doing), but we needed to show more patience when we had the ball."
The Boks will now take on Wales in the World Cup semi-finals in Yokohama on Sunday.
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard