Petoors is key

Springbok captain John Smit believes that the performance of the two flyhalves will be a decisive factor in Saturday’s Test.

Andy Goode and Andre Pretorius will start for England and South Africa respectively, and after last week’s 21-23 victory to the hosts, they undoubtedly have the upper hand.

“England are going to be a different prospect this week,” Smit told the media. “It was important for them to get that win and end their run of defeats, and that will have given them some more confidence for the second Test.

“Andy Goode immediately took control when he came on last week and the momentum shifted in England’s favour.

“But it must be said that we gave that match away, and it hurt a lot to lose by two points. We just need to ensure that we don’t just play well for 75 minutes, which is what we were guilty of in the last Test.”

Smit dismissed claims that the injuries to three players will have a debilitating effect on the side as they search for a rare win at Twickenham. Pierre Spies, Jacques Cronje and Butch James have all gone home, and so once again adjustments have been made to the side.

Andre Pretorius finds himself back in the starting side, and will be hoping to redeem himself after an indifferent performance in Dublin, where atrocious conditions exacerbated the situation. The captain has given Pretorius his full backing.

“Andre has enjoyed a great year since coming back from injury,” said Smit. “That final kick against the All Blacks was an indication of what he can offer the team. He is probably our most settled flyhalf at the moment.”

Pretorius stated earlier in the week that he is ready for the challenge, and considering the forecast, it is going to take a monumental effort by the Lions pivot. The weather will play its part, with grey skies and some rain expected; a stark contrast to the sunshine on Twickenham last week.

“Overall, it’s actually been the best weather I’ve experienced when on tour in England,” said Smit. “We are expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. Whatever happens, the weather cannot get much worse than it was in Dublin.”

By Jon Cardinelli, in London