Packs hold the key in Paris
WELCOME BACK: FAF DE KLERK AND WILLIE LE ROUX CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE
Heavy rain likely to put a dampener on running rugby.
With torrential rain expected in Paris tonight, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is looking for his charges to respond accordingly against France after their defeat at Twickenham last week.
While Erasmus’ buzzwords this week revolved around ‘momentum’, the game could turn out to be an arm-wrestle between the two packs.
The Boks, however, will take any win possible, even if it’s ugly.
In this regard, the return of scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and fullback Willie le Roux were expected to be crucial for the Boks, Erasmus admitted, even if it meant they would have to change their tactics.
“Obviously it’s nice to have Faf and Willie back in the mix. They are experienced players and they bring something else to the party,” Erasmus said.
The return of lock Franco Mostert is also key in the lineouts, where he has formed a long understanding with hooker Malcolm Marx at the Lions, while bench players like flank Francois Louw, prop Vincent Koch and lock RG Snyman are all likely to be crucial in the physical exchanges late on.
“Having Franco back from Gloucester will be great and we will need that intensity against a very strong and physical French team,” Erasmus said.
According to Bok captain Siya Kolisi, this Test is another step in their journey towards next year’s World Cup.
“We only have four more games left after the end-of-year tour, so this tour is a very important one for us as a squad,” Kolisi said.
“It will give us the opportunity to gain more experience playing together as a group, and more importantly give us the chance to play every week in different environments and conditions.”
With De Klerk returning, Erasmus explained that he decided to retain Embrose Papier as back-up instead of Ivan van Zyl because of the pace he brings.
“It’s real fine margins, how you are sometimes growing and other times standing still and treading water,” Erasmus said.
“And one kick at the end of the game was the difference (in last week’s tour opener) but the No 9s did well against a very experienced England team.”
Erasmus was also full of praise for explosive rightwing Sbu Nkosi, who had also performed well against England.
“Nkosi played just three Tests in June and then he was out of the mix for a while, but he played really well last weekend and to perform like that at Twickenham was really well done.”
Erasmus said the entire squad knew where they stood with him as the head coach, and he had taken an open approach to this tour. Kick-off: 10.05pm. Also see Page 42
FLYER. Springbok wing Sbusiso Nkosi will be looking to continue his fine form when the Boks take on France in Paris tonight.