Franco Mostert. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
- Franco Mostert considers it a huge honour to be filling in for Pieter-Steph du Toit at blindside flank.
- It explains why the hardworking Springbok forward isn’t too worried about whether he’s suitable as that option against a nippier Wallaby outfit.
- Mostert believes the Boks have put the frustrations of last weekend’s defeat behind them.
While some observers wonder whether his unassuming yet tough style of play is suitable against an Australian side that’s far more preoccupied with speeding things up, Franco Mostert is simply honoured to be filling Pieter-Steph du Toit’s boots.
The wily 30-year-old second rower will once again be deputising for 2019’s World Rugby Player of the Year at blindside flank for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash in Brisbane, continuing a journey that started when Du Toit got injured in the first Test against the British & Irish Lions.
“To take over from Pieter-Steph, who’s a world class and quality player, is a huge honour,” said Mostert.
“I’m just trying to fill his shoes to the best of my ability. Hopefully I can make him proud, and all the players who wore the No 7 before me.”
A World Cup winner, the former Lions star made his mark at international level at lock, but a stint in the back-row for his franchise in 2018’s Super Rugby campaign reminded many of his versatility.
Used to the position at junior level too, Mostert clearly has done enough for the Bok coaching staff to keep faith in him.
“I wouldn’t say there’s much of a difference between lock and blindside flanker, there are certain fundamentals that stay the same,” he said.
“Adapting to the new role hasn’t been too tough. It’s important to have had the backing of the coaches and I’m very grateful for that. It’s been a nice journey to date.”
Not keen on talking too much about himself, Mostert is more comfortable discussing team matters, even if he does so by being refreshingly to the point.
With South Africa’s hopes of defending their Rugby Championship title hanging by a thread, he believes it’s time to remember that a loss to New Zealand in their opening match of the 2019 World Cup wasn’t enough to derail their dream.
“We know where we are, we have been in this situation before and we know where to go from here,” said Mostert.
“The boys are confident and positive, and that’s a good sign.”
Mostert also firmly believes the Boks have put a frustrating outing last week behind them.
“A lot of guys didn’t expect what happened last weekend, but this is rugby, the ball can bounce either way, and your plan can either work or not,” he said.
“Australia deserve credit for the way they played, they were hungrier than us. But we are working hard. I don’t think we’ll change our plan.
“What we are doing has worked for us. There are a few things we need to improve on, but the main thing is that we need to sharpen up our execution and hopefully things will go our way.”
Kick-off is at 09:05.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse