Boks ready for heavy artillery

2010-06-11 00:00

THE Springboks are preparing for a massive physical onslaught at Newlands tomorrow, but wing Bryan Habana has warned that the French now match their brawn with brains.

Victor Matfield, the Springbok vice-captain, told reporters in Cape Town yesterday that he was bracing for a bruising contest against one of the “best teams in world rugby”.

Last year the French set out to batter the Boks from the kick-off in Toulouse and they emerged with an impressive win.

“We haven’t done well against them recently, but most of those games have been in France. It will be good to play them at home. They’re a very physical side and they do the basics well,” said Matfield.

The South Africans have lost seven of their nine Tests against France and Matfield said it was important to gain a psychological advantage over France in case they meet in the World Cup next year.

Matfield said that the Boks had prepared well this week and there was no talk of fatigue after the long Super 14 season.

“Once you’re with the Boks, you’re ready to play,” said Matfield. “After all, we’re only halfway through the season.”

Loosehead prop Gurthro Steenkamp, back in the front-row after an excellent Super 14 season said he was looking forward to the challenge after the Boks’ scrummaging failures against Leicester last November.

“My selection for this Test, my first since 2008, gave me goose bumps. There were reasons for our poor performance against Leicester and it will be really good to measure myself against a strong, physical French scrum now,” he said.

But wing Habana believes the French will also be clever.

“They are very physical, but they have become a lot smarter in their tactical approach. They are now a good all-round side. In the past you didn’t always know which French side would pitch up, but the way they have played the last few years places them close to the top three nations in world rugby.”

The selection of Ricky Januarie ahead of Ruan Pienaar to replace the injured Fourie du Preez at scrumhalf has met with some criticism, but flyhalf Morné Steyn defended his new halfback partner.

Steyn says it is unfair to compare Januarie to Du Preez.

“Fourie is probably the best in the world with his tactical kicks but Ricky has others strengths, like his physicality, that will benefit us.”

Steyn said he would miss having his Super 14 team-mate Du Preez alongside him but the selection of fellow-Bull Wynand Olivier at inside centre would help him settle and he said he was feeling more comfortable in the Bok team than he did last year.

“I feel like I’m starting to express myself more freely, and I hope that helps with me with the Boks.”

The Test kicks off at 2 pm.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.