Jacobs fit, Bakkies in doubt

Adi Jacobs completed Monday’s training session in Edinburgh without incident allaying fears that a knee injury would end his UK tour.

The Sharks centre was one of two concerns for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers after he sustained a medial ligament injury against Wales. Jacobs has since recovered, but at this stage Bakkies Botha is still in doubt.

Botha is sporting a grotesquely bloodshot eye that was allegedly gouged by a Welsh player at the Millennium Stadium. The Bok No 4 stood on the sidelines as his team-mates trained at the Fettes College in Edinburgh.

The Boks are expected to name a full-strength side for the Murrayfield clash, and De Villiers stated he would never give away Test caps cheaply.

“We still have to assess the team selections and we will make the final call by tomorrow. The guys must really play for the opportunity to wear that jersey.”

The Boks are expected to win comfortably this Saturday, and after a long season it must be tempting to give a few of the more senior players a break. However, De Villiers believes the Absa Currie Cup actually helped the Boks in that Western Province failed to make the play-offs. Players like Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger were given an extra three weeks to recover before heading into preparations for the UK tour.

De Villiers also hopes his best team can improve on the performance in Cardiff. Scotland were paddled by New Zealand last week, but the Bok coach is taking no chances.

“They weren’t bad, and if they improve further it will be a tough game. The difference between winning and losing is taking chances. Any team can beat another on any given day.”

The Boks have won seven from 11 Tests in 2008, and despite a poor Tri-Nations campaign De Villiers believes South Africa are in the right track.

“Every team that wins the World Cup goes through a bit of a dip the next year. I inherited a great team, but I’ve tried to blend the youth and experience in order to turn this team into one that will go places.”