SA’s front row ‘shock’

2014-06-14 00:00

HE expected Jannie, Bismarck and Beast in the Bok front row today, but colourful Welsh prop Adam Jones was surprised when it was revealed that Gurthro Steenkamp will start his 50th Test in the front row of today’s Durban clash.

Jones, playing in his 100th Test today — 95 for Wales and five for the British and Irish Lions — said that he expected to be up against Beast Mtawarira and not Steenkamp.

The Springbok scrum became a point of discussion after last weekend’s match against a World XI in Cape Town, but Jones believes the home team will come back stronger.

“Looking at the World Team, they have a pretty good group. Guys like Carl Hayman, Sona Taumalolo, etc,” said Jones, who with his long curly hair looks like a character from the movie Lord of the Rings.

“Any scrum with Hayman in it will not be bad. I think he has been the benchmark in that position for the last 10 years.”

With Jones and Gethin Jenkins as props, Wales are renowned for their scrummaging and therefore a war is expected in the Shark Tank this evening.

An additional factor in today’s match will be referee Romain Poite. The Frenchman came into the Bok spotlight last year when he sent off Bismarck du Plessis for an alleged high tackle on All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter.

Poite also dished out a yellow card to Jenkins, who is no stranger to 10 minutes in the sin bin, in the Six Nations Championship match against England this year.

Hopefully Poite has learned from his earlier mistakes and both sides will be hoping for consistent officiating.

Turning his attention back to the front row, Jones was not shy to express his shock at Steenkamp’s inclusion.

“It was quite a surprise. Besides Bakkies [Botha] and [Victor] Matfield, who came back, you know quite how the front row usually look — Jannie, Bismarck and Beast,” he said.

“To play your 50th Test is special and this is my 100th. But I think he looks a lot older than me,” joked Jones. Both players are 33.

Meanwhile, Welsh left wing George North was yesterday declared fit to tackle the Springboks after spending much of the week recovering from a stomach virus in bed.

Springboks: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp. Replacements: Schalk Brits, Beast Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, the Lead Jager, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Johan Goosen, Lwazi Mvovo.

Wales: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips, Toby Faletau, Aaron Shingler, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Luke Charteris, Adam Jones, Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins. Replacements: Matthew Rees, Paul James, Samson Lee, Ian Evans, Josh Turnbull, Gareth Davies, James Hook, Matthew Morgan.

Referee: Romain Poite

Assistant referees: Steve Walsh, Francisco Pastrana

TMO: Graham Hughes

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