Boks have struck gold

2014-06-18 00:00

MBOMBELA — The Bok coaching team have found gold in the young Jan Serfontein.

The SA camp yesterday praised Fourie du Preez and Willie le Roux as world class players, but Serfontein does not have to stand back for these two greats.

The coaches were very happy with the maturity shown by the 21-year-old during Saturday’s first Test against Wales in Durban.

They did not expect him to be a Jean de Villiers or a Frans Steyn, but Serfontein has impressed enough to once again face the Red Dragons’ 100 kg veteran centre Jamie Roberts at the Mbombela stadium this Saturday.

Ricardo Loubscher, assistant coach of the Boks, said Serfontein had exceeded all expectations in his first Test, despite playing with JP Pietersen, who was slotted in at 13 for the first time.

“We have had so many centre combinations over the last six months. This time Jan came in and knew exactly what we expected from him,” Loubscher said.

“He really played well, going over the advantage line, running good lines and making his tackles.”

Serfontein appeared unfazed by the size of his opponents, in fact, he brushed off Dan Biggar when the big man attempted a frontal tackle over the weekend.

Loubscher is also happy with the way the entire Bok backline — and not just the point machines like Le Roux and Bryan Habana — dominated the large players in the Welsh backline.

“They have a large and physical backline. I really think we handled it very well, especially the way in which we managed the game with our tactical kicking,” said Loubscher.

“But also our defence. They have a world class backline, but I am happy with how we handled it.”

Flyhalf Morné Steyn kept physical Welsh wing George North on the back foot for much of Saturday’s affair with tactical kicks.

Apart from Roberts (110 kg), North (109 kg), centre Jonathan Davies (104 kg) and wing Alex Cuthbert (106 kg), Welsh scrumhalf Mike Phillips weighs 101 kg.

But for all of their bulk the Welsh were run ragged by the fleetfooted Le Roux and Habana, with Serfontein hot on their heels.

This is why Bok coach Heyneke Meyer is not be expected to make changes to the backline when he announces the team today for Saturday’s Test.

Serfontein replaced Frans Steyn after Steyn had become the first Bok in history to withdraw from the national team while he continues having a payment dispute with the South African Rugby Union.

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