Onslaught to England

2014-11-12 00:00

AS the dust settles on the Springboks’ defeat at the hands of the Irish last weekend, there might just be a blessing in the bruising loss.

The Boks were humbled by a ferocious Ireland outfit whose work at the breakdown and rush-defence cut any chance of the visitors gaining momentum. Bok defence coach John McFarland believes his charges will do well to emulate the Irish tactics this weekend against England.

“I think the reason they were able to use the rush is they were quite disruptive at the breakdown.

“If you look at the game, they kicked and made sure our ball was slow — they pushed the laws to the boundaries and we must take some of those things into our defence,” McFarland said.

The Bok defence was solid last weekend despite the loss and they mainly fell short on attack. As McFarland pointed out yesterday, the Irish struggled to get through the Springbok line of defence, but used their kicking game masterfully to turn the bulky Boks around.

“The real thing we must improve is our positional play obviously to deal with kicks. Johnny Sexton exposed us a few times in the back field and we need to be disciplined in certain situations,” McFarland said.

“The kickers here, from Owen Farrell [England flyhalf] to Sexton all kick at 100% and you have to be right on the money in terms of your discipline.”

The pressure is now on Bok fullback Willie le Roux to improve his positioning defensively. Although he is a prodigious attacking threat, Le Roux will do well to master the Northern Hemisphere fields and conditions leading into next year’s World Cup.

The Boks will be expecting the English to pin them back with some tactical kicking, as England coach Stuart Lancaster said he would not be tinkering with his side in an effort to keep continuity.

That means Farrell should retain the flyhalf jersey and he could well be looking to review Sexton’s man-of-the-match performance against the Boks to gain some pointers.

The English are also waiting on centre Kyle Eastmond who succumbed to illness early in the week after standing up well to the freakish Sonny Bill Williams and was dangerous on attack.

Meanwhile, Springbok stalwart Duane Vermeulen, the standout player of the year, knows what awaits the Boks at Twickenham this Saturday.

As always, Vermeulen loves the rough stuff and is expecting a forward battle of epic proportions.

“It’s going to be a tight, hard game and massive upfront and our Rugby Championship and Super Rugby is a hell of a lot different to what the rugby is up here. It’s a more forward-

orientated game, but we love playing with our forwards,” Vermeulen said.

“It’s just a lot different. We made some changes in training and things we needed to focus on in the forwards. Hopefully we can show that on the pitch on Saturday.”

The Springboks are set to announce their team today who will face England. With no injury concerns, all eyes are on Heyneke Meyer’s selection for what is going to be a crucial Test.

Kick-off is at 4.30 pm on Saturday.

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