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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Krige: Row has bonded Springboks
South Africa captain Corne Krige
South Africa captain Corne Krige claims the Springboks have been strengthened by the race row that erupted during their build-up to October's World Cup.

Krige said the crucial match against England on 18 October held no fear for his players after the stresses of the last month.

"No England match can be as tough as the past few weeks have been, so I'm sure we'll be able to handle anything they throw at us," Krige said.

The race controversy erupted in August after South Africa lock forward Geo Cronje was expelled from a training camp for allegedly refusing to share a room with black team-mate Quinton Davids.

Cronje was cleared of wrongdoing by the South African Rugby Football Union but allegations of other incidents have led to an independent investigation headed by retired judge Edwin King.

Krige said his team were well aware of England's impressive World Cup build-up, during which Clive Woodward's side beat New Zealand and Australia on home soil before crushing France at Twickenham on Saturday.

You shouldn't use any cause to try and gel a team
South Africa coach
Rudolph Straeuli
"It is worrying that they're playing so well and we've looked at that, but we're not going to focus too much on them for now," Krige said.

"We're just trying to get back to the level we were at in the Tri-Nations, and go a level higher in terms of fitness, strength and team cohesion.

"Once we start putting those things together we can start looking at England."

But Springbok coach Rudolf Straeuli does not agree that the race row had bonded the squad.

"You shouldn't use any cause to try and gel a team," Straeuli told reporters.

"You can't use something like this to make the team better, you've got to train to become a better team."





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