Fri, 17 Jan 2020

Bok loosie eyes Champions Cup quarter-finals

News24
12 Dec 2019, 16:10 GMT+10

Paris - Toulouse's Springbok loose forward Rynhardt Elstadt says clinching a place in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals is on the squad's mind ahead of facing Montpellier this weekend as he also looks to ease any lingering disappointment over missing his country's Rugby World Cup triumph.

The Top 14 title holders can close in on a last eight spot with two rounds to go if they win Saturday's all-French affair and Gloucester beat Connacht in Ireland in Pool 5.

"There have been talks about it but the mindset of the team is really good, they never overthink things," Elstadt told AFP.

"If we don't win this weekend we have another chance the following weekend of European games. In the back of your mind, if we do take the victory we can be certain of a quarter-final spot," he added.

Elstadt, 29, made his Springbok debut in July but missed out on a spot in the squad which went on to win the World Cup less than four months later.

"From day one I knew where I was standing in team selection so the disappointment wasn't too bad. It would have been between myself and (captain) Siya Kolisi because he had a knee injury," Elstadt said.

"At the end of the day I was still disappointed as I wasn't going to a World Cup, especially when they bloody won the thing," he added.

'X-factor Kolbe'

The combative flanker is joined in the record four-time European champions set-up by World Cup winner and fellow former Stormer Cheslin Kolbe, who could start his first Toulouse game of the season this weekend.

The pair lifted the Top 14 title together in June and Kolbe then starred at the World Cup, scoring four tries in as many games.

"Nothing has ever changed with him since the day I met him. He's just an incredible human being on and off the field," Elstadt said.

"He's not a really big player but he has a heart of a lion and he's just proved it over and over. He's such an X-factor player," he added.

Elsewhere this weekend, last year's runners up Leinster can also take a step towards the knock-out stages with victory over Northampton in Pool 1.

The two other sides with three wins from as many games this season in Exeter Chiefs and Ulster play Harlequins and Sale Sharks respectively.

Defending champions Saracens, who have been fined and deducted points in the English Premiership for salary cap irregularities, host Munster in Pool 4.

Fixtures (SA times):

Friday

Harlequins v Ulster, Racing 92 v Ospreys (both 21:45)

Saturday

Connacht v Gloucester, Treviso v Lyon (both 14:45), Montpellier v Toulouse, Saracens v Munster (both 17:00), Leinster v Northampton, Glasgow Warriors v La Rochelle (both 19:15)

Sunday

Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks (15:00), Clermont v Bath (17:15)

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