Heyneke Meyer kept his word by sticking to last week’s team as much as possible. The inclusion of two Bulls will no doubt lead to a moan or two down south, but both Werner Kruger and Bjorn Basson thoroughly deserve their places in the team on their performance in the Super series.
The loss of Coenie Oosthuizen, in particular, is sad. He really harried the English in all facets of the game, and will be missed.
Pat Lambie is no stranger to the fullback position, and has both the talent and the temperament to cement his place permanently. He brings a less predictable approach on the attack to the table, which may be yet another surprise for the English.
From a South African perspective, we cannot afford another game of two halves. It appears unlikely, though, as the team had more time to prepare, and the benefit of a full test last Saturday.
A bigger concern for me is that we may underestimate the Bulldog spirit of the English.
The English papers carried a number of interviews with their players, all of whom said that they now know that they can beat the ‘Boks. My first reaction was: well, why didn’t you?
It also led me to believe that they possibly did not think so, in their heart of hearts, before the match. The try they scored at the end of last week’s test no doubt contributed to their confidence. The Brits are well known for believing that one swallow can make a summer, possibly because that season mostly only lasts one day over there. It is up to us to make a huge impact from the first whistle to dispel this misplaced faith quickly.
Their coach called the SA defence an “impenetrable wall”. No doubt there will be more of the same, and I suspect they will change their approach, with possibly more focus on their speed out wide. Lambie will also be tested, and his combination with the two wings, and Morné Steyn, will play a big role in whether this succeeds or not.
Francois Hougaard is just too good a footballer to have another off day at the office, and I predict that he will do his level best to prove those who called for his head, wrong. He was very good on the defence – something many armchair critics missed while baying for Ruan Pienaar’s inclusion in the starting line-up. The latter brought a new dimension on the attack, but with our traditional approach of “maak sag voor en slaan dan hard agter”, he should be an impact player.
Die jong Bokkies het Dinsdag nes hulle ouboete gespeel, maar wat ‘n tweede helfte. Om vier drieë teen die Onder 20 ses-nasie kampioene te druk, sal hulle met baie meer selfvertroue laat speel. Ons beste vertoning in die kompetisie is ‘n paar brons medaljes. As die dobbelsteen anders geval het, sou ons dalk Saterdag reeds teen die junior All Blacks moes speel. Sou die Bokkies egter Saterdag voortbou op hul laaste vertoning, pak hul moontlik die manne in swart in die eindstryd aan.
Die twee haakplekke wat ek sien is hul swak spel in die lynstane en gesukkel om twee goeie helftes te speel. Hulle sal dit Saterdag moet uitstryk as hulle die finaal wil haal.
Die gholfspelers wat die Olympic baan van vanaand af aanpak, sal hul storie moet ken. Ons het vyf spelers wat reeds “Majors” gewen het. My geld is op Louis Oosthuizen om as voorste SA speler te eindig. As hy ook die kampioenskap wen, sal dit sekerlik beteken dat hy die beste van die nuwe generasie SA gholf helde is.
Om af te sluit, nog ‘n gholf storie.
In my speeldae was ek gereken as formidabele beterbal maat. Nie oor my vermoë met die stokke nie, maar eerder my tong.
Eendag, toe ons die wedstryd beklink op Vredenburg se 16de putjie, sê my een opponent, Pat Morris: “You talk a very good game.”
Ag, nou ja, so moet mens mos maar woeker met jou talente, of wat praat ek alles?
Stock up on beer, braaihout and biefstuk. Saterdag gaan ’n lang dag wees om om te kry tot die toets afskop.
Vrede tot dan.
PK the DJ