Springboks expecting even more intensity
THE Springboks are going to push the rev counter into the red on Saturday in Bloemfontein in an effort to wrap up the series against England.
And, with England desperate to equal the series after losing last week at Ellis Park, the intensity of this match is not going to be for the fainthearted.
Last week’s game had hearts palpitating, so it should be a crackerjack Test which will either sink England or keep the series alive – with everything then to play for in the third Test in Cape Town next week.
England have lost five matches in a row — four Tests and a match against the Barbarians, and the heat is being turned up on England boss Eddie Jones.
“It was an intense game ... fast, high speed,” Rassie Erasmus said of the Boks’ nail-biting 42-39 victory, which was achieved thanks to a remarkable comeback from an intimidating 3-24 deficit after just minutes before the end of the pulsating match.
“There were a lot of linebreaks, there was a lot of running, and I think it’s going to be even more intense this weekend,” the Springbok coach said.
“Both teams are desperate. We want to bury the series on Saturday and they obviously want to keep it alive.
“And, for the second week running, the game is being played at altitude, which means more pace, more space in which to attack, and greater intensity.”
According to reports from Bloemfontein, the 46 000-seater Free State Stadium is likely to sell out, with the 4 000 tickets still available likely to go before kick-off at 5pm.
The match would likely have sold out early in the week, but there is major problem with accommodation in the Free State capital, and limited flights available.
A sold-out stadium plus anticipated clear skies will add to the atmosphere.
Given the way England played in that opening quarter, and the Boks’ willingness to use the ball under Swys de Bruyn (the Lions coach who doubles up as the Springbok attack coach), breathtaking entertainment is guaranteed.
Erasmus was thrilled that his three newcomers to Test rugby – Sb’u Nkosi, Aphiwe Dyantyi and RG Snyman – had superb debuts.
Burly Bulls lock Snyman, 23, said he could not have dreamed of a better game in which to announce his arrival on the international stage.
“During those first 20 minutes it felt like it was never going to end. But Duane Vermeulen pulled us together, gave us a good talking-to behind the posts and after that we came back nicely,” said the he 23-yearold.
“I’m just so honoured and privileged to be with the Boks ... this was obviously a big dream of mine growing up. And to start off at Ellis Park, and win the way we did, it was really special,” said Snyman, who packs a punch up front at 2.06 metres tall and weighs 125kg.
“Being a Bulls fan, growing up it was always Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha for me, and then also Danie Rossouw, a guy with a nice physical game,” he said.
“I have taken a bit from all of those guys but I like to think I play my own game.”
Snyman understands that England will have done their homework on him after his fine performance which included a crucial line-out steal late in the game when England were pushing for victory.
“They would have learned a bit about us, but we also learned about them. They’ll come back harder, but so will we. The intensity and physicality will be there, much more than in Super Rugby. That’s why it’s Test rugby.”
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 S’bu Nkosi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Koloisi (capt), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Beast Mtawarira
GALLOPING GIANT: Springbok lock RG Snyman is tackled by England’s Mike Brown during the first Test at Ellis Park on Saturday.