BEAT FRANCE

Saturday Star - - SPORT -

IF THE Spring­boks are to get their Euro­pean tour back on track and be the team that pops the cham­pagne in Paris to­day (kick-off 10pm SA time) they will have to tick sev­eral boxes.

Here, In­de­pen­dent Me­dia rugby writer high­lights what coach Rassie Eras­mus’s team must do right for them to get the bet­ter of the Tri­col­ors

JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN

PLAY WITH ‘ALL BLACKS MIND­SET’

The Boks seem to al­ways have an ex­tra gear, and be more mo­ti­vated and hun­gry, when they play against their great­est ri­vals, the All Blacks. They, how­ever, need to lift their game to the high­est level every time they run onto the field, no mat­ter who the op­po­si­tion is. The pas­sion and de­sire they showed in Welling­ton this year – de­fen­sively – and then in Pre­to­ria, when they dom­i­nated and should have won, must be the or­der of the day in Paris.

MAL­COLM MARX NEEDS TO FIRE

One of five player-of-the-year nom­i­nees, the Bok hooker needs to come good again. Marx has not been at his best this sea­son – he cer­tainly hasn’t shown the form at Test level as he showed in Su­per Rugby – and needs a big game to spark the Bok pack. His pri­mary job is find­ing his line-out jumpers – some­thing he didn’t do last week against Eng­land – and he sim­ply has to hit the mark this week; fail­ing again will be un­for­giv­able. What­ever he does at the break­downs will be a bonus.

TACKLE, TACKLE AND TACKLE AGAIN

One of the most pleas­ing as­pects of the Bok per­for­mance of a week ago is that they hardly gave Eng­land a sniff of their try­line; all the home team’s points com­ing via the boot. It was the first time this sea­son that the Boks kept an op­po­nent try-less ... and they need to be as stingy tonight. The good news is that the Boks have a team loaded with work­horses and men who sim­ply love tack­ling – and don’t seem to get tired, like Franco Mostert, Pi­eter-steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and War­ren White­ley.

FIN­ISH OFF THE CHANCES

If the de­fence was en­cour­ag­ing last week, the at­tack wasn’t. The Boks cre­ated over 20 good chances, ac­cord­ing to as­sis­tant coach Mzwandile Stick, but they only man­aged to score one try. That is not good enough at Test level, and the rea­son why they lost by a point. They need to be more pa­tient this week, be clin­i­cal in their ex­e­cu­tion and pile the pres­sure on the French by con­vert­ing their chances. Again, it’s that “killer in­stinct” of the All Blacks the Boks need to add to their game.

MAKE AN IM­PACT OFF THE BENCH

Coach Rassie Eras­mus has done a lot of good things this year, but he hasn’t fig­ured out how to em­ploy his bench just yet. When to make changes, and who to re­place, has be­come some­thing of a fine art, but it’s some­thing the Boks need to get right, and soon. Marx should have been yanked last week af­ter his line-out woes, but he wasn’t, un­til too late in the game. With qual­ity, im­pact men on the bench, Eras­mus needs to make the tough calls when called upon to do so.

HOW THEY LINE UP FRANCE:

Maxime Medard, Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud, Ge­of­frey Doumay­rou, Damian Pe­naud, Camille Lopez, Bap­tiste Serin, Louis Pi­camoles, Arthur Itur­ria, Wences­las Lau­ret, Yoann Maestri, Se­bastien Va­haamahina, Ce­date Gomes Sa, Guil­hem Guirado (capt), Jef­fer­son Poirot

Camille Chat, Dany Priso, Rabah Sli­mani, Paul Gabril­lagues, Mathieu Ba­bil­lot, An­toine Dupont, An­thony Bel­leau, Gael Fickou

Re­place­ments:

SOUTH AFRICA:

Wil­lie le Roux, S’bu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Al­lende, Aphiwe Dyan­tyi, Han­dré Pol­lard, Faf de Klerk, War­ren White­ley, Duane Ver­meulen, Siya Kolisi (capt), Franco Mostert, Pi­etersteph du Toit, Frans Mal­herbe, Mal­colm Marx, Steven Kit­shoff

Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Vin­cent Koch, RG Sny­man, Fran­cois Louw, Em­brose Papier, El­ton Jan­tjies, Ch­es­lin Kolbe

Re­place­ments:

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