Keo.co.za brings you the latest from the Springboks’ end-of-year tour.
Beast misses training – Beast Mtawarira sat out of Monday’s training session due to a knee injury incurred in the Boks’ defeat to Scotland. The decision on the prop’s availability will be made later in the week.
Should Mtawarira fail to pass fit, CJ van der Linde will be considered as a replacement. This would lead to Coenie Oosthuizen coming onto the Bok bench.
The team for Saturday’s Test is due to be named on Tuesday.
Poms buzzing ahead of Bok clash – England No 8 Nick Easter says his side is feeling confident about the coming tussle with the Springboks. England beat Australia two weeks ago, and despite a lacklustre showing against Samoa, he felt there were positives.
‘We’d created chances but had not nailed them,’ Easter wrote in his Daily Telegraph column. ‘We did in the second half. In many ways, we’ll get as much from this as we did from Australia. We’ll have to bring the best of both performances to beat South Africa.
‘I’ve played against them five times and lost the lot. England have lost their last six against them. Trust the Scots not to do us a favour. It’ll be a wounded Boks who come to Twickenham. It’ll be a full-blooded affair. It always is.
‘We want to finish on a high note. It would put a dampener on the autumn if we don’t manage to do that, difficult as it will be. We’ve got to make the most of these moments, all the more so as this is the last chance we get to clock a win against the southern hemisphere before the World Cup.
‘There’s a buzz in camp. We’re very much up for it.’
Matfield regrets poor tactics – Springbok captain Victor Matfield said his side employed the wrong approach and that contributed to a crushing loss to Scotland. The Boks tried to run the ball, even though atrociously stormy conditions prescribed a percentage approach.
‘There has been a lot of talk about us needing to be more expansive in our approach and maybe we paid too much attention to that,’ said Matfield. ‘These weren’t the right conditions to play expansively, and we made too many mistakes in our own half that Scotland were able to punish instead of us getting the ball down into their territory and playing from there.’
Bok coach Peter de Villiers defended his decision to sub goal-kicking machine Morne Steyn for Pat Lambie in the second half. Lambie went on to miss a crucial kick.
‘If we look at the Morne Steyn incident in isolation then it might have been a mistake, but if you look at the bigger picture towards next year’s World Cup then you have to say that the players need to get experience of playing in these conditions,’ De Villiers offered.
Poms take aim at Boks – Despite a disappointing showing against Samoa, England are feeling confident about the coming clash with the Springboks. Manager Martin Johnson wasn’t satisfied with the performance against Samoa, but said the fact that England ground out a win was important.
‘We had to keep our composure and keep on playing and it was a good experience for them,’ said Johnson. ‘I think we’ve clearly taken steps. This week was a new experience – not all of it good, but in a sense it is good because things like not finishing, going behind in the second half, are all ultimately good experience.
‘We’ve got one big shot at the world champions next week. Everything about us has got to have a little bit more intensity and accuracy. If we’d got that against Samoa we could have scored two or three more but we didn’t.’