The Springboks will stick to their game plan in an attempt to win Saturday’s Test and record a 3-0 whitewash against England.
Coach Heyneke Meyer is set to make several changes for the the third and final Test, but those changes will be made more of necessity than anything else.
Centre Wynand Olivier will replace Frans Steyn, who is set to be married this Saturday and has thus been granted leave. Jacques Potgieter is likely to slot in for the injured Willem Alberts (knee), while Gio Aplon should replace the ailing Pat Lambie (ankle).
Olivier doesn’t have the same physical presence as Steyn in midfield and the uncapped Potgieter may also struggle to replicate Alberts’ efforts at blindside flank. Aplon is better known for his running ability than his kicking. And yet, all three of these new starters will need to play according to the Boks’ territory-based blue print.
Bok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard said on Tuesday that the team will stick to the pattern that proved successful in the first two Tests. The series has already been secured with those two victories, but there is still a desire to win as well as inflict some psychological damage on England.
‘It’s just as important as the first two Tests, we are not going to slow down now,’ Hougaard said. ‘I’m sure England will also be up for it, so we can’t afford to be complacent.
‘Our goal has always been to beat them 3-0 if you think that the goal is to win every game.’
While the Boks will be without several key players, the English are also smarting after last week’s battle at Ellis Park.
Captain Chris Robshaw and scrumhalf Ben Youngs have been ruled out with injuries, and the loss of these players will impact on England’s synergy.
Speaking of the Boks’ synergy and performances over the past two Tests, Hougaard admitted that while the South Africans had played well in patches, they were yet to produce a complete showing.
With a view to the Rugby Championship as well as the desire to beat England 3-0, the Boks must fire from start to finish at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this Saturday.
‘We had four days to prepare for that first Test,’ said Hougaard. ‘We were better in the second, although it wasn’t a complete performance. That is what we must do this Saturday, we must put two halves together, we must produce an 80-minute performance.
‘The focus is on quick ball and doing the basics well. England will look to play off our mistakes, so we have to keep those to a minimum.
‘They scored some soft tries against us in the last game, so we need to watch for the quick taps. I’m sure they will look to lift the tempo in the coming game.’
By Jon Cardinelli, in Port Elizabeth