Sorry start for the Bok dirt-track­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - PETER BILLS

PETER DE VIL­LIERS suf­fered his most hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat as Spring­bok coach as English cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter crushed his team in a stun­ning re­verse in the English Mid­lands here last night.

It wasn’t just that the South Africans made such a dis­as­trous start to their end of year north­ern hemi­sphere tour. In­stead, it was the way in which De Vil­liers’ team ca­pit­u­lated. The rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the world cham­pi­ons found them­selves badly beaten phys­i­cally by Le­ices­ter’s se­ri­ously un­der­strength but feisty team. The great­est hu­mil­i­a­tion came in the set scrums where the tourists were over­whelmed.

Their puny scrum was smashed time and again, a crass em­bar­rass­ment.

The tourists, who lost cap­tain for the night Chilli­boy Rale­pelle af­ter only 20 min­utes with a re­cur­rence of a foot in­jury, looked be­wil­dered by the fe­roc­ity of the Le­ices­ter play. Ruan Pien­aar set up a nerve­jan­gling fin­ish with two late penal­ties. But it was not enough. There was a rusty look to the South Africans’ game all evening.

An­dries Bekker looked hun­gry for work, not least in the line-out where he was a mas­sive pres­ence, but the for­wards strug­gled to show the au­thor­ity ex­pected.

Three ju­di­cious kicks in the first eight min­utes gave the Boks the ideal launch pad.

The first was a reg­u­la­tion penalty from the 22 by Ruan Pien­aar but the next two opened up the in­ex­pe­ri­enced Le­ices­ter de­fence. Earl Rose put up a bomb which caused chaos and when South Africa quickly won the loose ball, Rose was up in the line to slide a pin­point low kick across to Jongi Nokwe who scored with ease.

Le­ices­ter gave the vis­i­tors a lively work­out, scor­ing a bril­liant 27th minute try, from a stun­ning counter at­tack. Ar­gen­tine wing Lu­cas Amorosino had much to do but some stun­ning side-steps at pace got him home un­der the posts. Ben Youngs con­verted to edge Le­ices­ter ahead and then landed two more penal­ties be­fore half-time to in­crease the lead, one af­ter Gurthro Steenkamp was de­stroyed at a set scrum by Le­ices­ter’s Ital­ian tight head Martin Cas­tro­gio­vanni.

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