Packs hold the key in Paris


The Citizen (Gauteng) - - FRONT PAGE - Ru­dolph Ja­cobs

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

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

FLYER. Spring­bok wing Sbu­siso Nkosi will be look­ing to con­tinue his fine form when the Boks take on France in Paris tonight.

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