News24

Christo up to the challenge

2003-10-16 21:47

Fremantle - Springbok loosehead prop Christo Bezuidenhout is ready for the biggest challenge of his rugby career - keeping England strongman Phil Vickery in check in Saturday's World Cup match in Perth.

Thirty-three year old Bezuidenhout has played only 39 minutes of Test rugby. He came on as a reserve in the Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin earlier this year.

"Although England have a number of strong scrummagers, I believe we're on an equal footing with them. If you succeed in making life difficult for them in the first few scrums, you get under their skin. That's what happened when they played against the All Blacks this year. We'll be out to make things very difficult for them," said Bezuidenhout on Thursday.

"You must try to wheel the scrum and spoil their possession. That upsets them, because you take them out of their comfort zone. And we must not allow them to intimidate us verbally, either."

Bezuidenhout said he was really looking forward to the clash with Martin Johnson and his team-mates. "I hoped that I would be selected, since this is one of those games that count.

Opportunities are getting fewer, and you should grab every chance that comes your way.

"Richard Bands (tighthead prop) and I have been studying video footage of the England front row (Vickery, Steve Thompson and Trevor Woodman), and we know what to expect.

Timing

"It will be difficult initially, since everything depends on how you engage in the scrums. Our timing will have to be perfect in order to ensure that they don't get the better of us in this respect. On the other hand, we'll have to ensure that we don't go in too early and concede free kicks.

"Our tight five will have to work together as a unit."

Fullback Jaco van der Westhuyzen was another player who was delighted about his inclusion in the starting line-up after having missed out on World Cup selection initially.

"I don't think they (England) will deviate from their normal pattern and kick too many balls my way. But of they do, I'll be ready. The most important thing is to get the basics right, since there's no room for flashy stuff in an encounter of this magnitude," said Van der Westhuyzen.