Springboks vs Pumas Preview: Rugby Championships 2012
You know what’s great about watching the Springboks play live?…….. Everything! I am going to be there, with bells on baby! You know it!
Newlands is a fantastic place to watch rugby because of the setting, how close the fans are to the field, the train station at the ground and of course the fantastic tradition of the ground but I will say this, the fact that you are not allowed to drink beer on the stands is a terrible glaring flaw.
Trying to get as many beers as you can into your face before the game and at half time with 30,000 other thirsty fans is SHITake to the max. Just saying.
Moving along to the actual game though and what a breath of fresh air to be able to welcome the Pumas to the old Tri-Nations. They are a bit of an unknown quantity but players like Frans Steyn have played with and against a bunch of them in France. The Pumas do love their scrumming, that much is known and the Bokke will need to be accurate in the set phases and uncompromising in the rucks and mauls. Exciting times ahead and no mistake, let’s get involved in the preview like nobody’s business.
Springboks vs Pumas
Pumas coach, Santiago Phelan has opted for an experienced squad, most of whom recently beat France and Italy in June. He has made one critical change in bringing back talented flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez and will be hoping his experience of SA playing conditions can give them a boost. Look out for accurate kicking and quality distribution from the ex Sharks player. Another player to look out for is namesake and inspirational captain, No 8 Juan Martin Fernández Lobbe.
The Pumas are a passionate side and don’t be surprised by most of them crying during the national anthem. They have nothing to lose and everything to prove and will come out guns blazing, both barrels loaded with a side order of (hopefully) controlled aggression and a fair dollop of flair.
For the Bokke, Meyer has had his hand forced somewhat with injuries to the side, with Pierre Spies fracturing his finger and being ruled out for the entire Rugby Championship. Duane Vermeulen, Schalk burger and Juan Smith are all still out injured and he has opted for live wire Keegan Daniels to fill Pierre’s size 14 boots. Daniels had a cracking Super Rugby season and deserves his call up, let’s hope he can bring the same level of explosive play to Test rugby.
Frans donkey boot Steyn comes back into the starting line up after missing the last England game to get married and Zane Kirchener reclaims his spot at fullback after recovering from injury. In the forwards, Willem man mountain Alberts slots back at flank and Andries Bekker comes into the side with Bulls jumper Juandre Kruger dropping out of the matchday 22. Sharks wing, Lwazi Mvovo gets a start, with Bryan Habana moving to right-wing to replace JP Pietersen. Let’s hope for more of this from the young speedster…
On the bench, Pat I use clear for men Lambie covers both fullback and flyhalf while newcomers JJ Engelbrecht and Lions Prop Pat Cilliers both have the opportunities to make their debuts should they get a run.
The weather has been terrible of late but clear skies are predicted for Saturday which should make for an entertaining game. This Springbok team is far less experienced than in previous years and are still building under Meyer but if they can put together a performance similar to the ones we saw in bits and pieces against England they will get their campaign off to a cracking start. A lot will depend on Frans Hougaard and Morne Steyn but after a bit of a break after Super Rugby both should be fresh and ready to prove their critics wrong.
The Bokke have never lost to the Pumas and will not lose on Saturday either. Expect flashes of excellent rugga from the Pumas but for the Bokke to beat them at home with a four try bonus point win.
Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-Off: Sat 18th, 5:00pm
Referee: Steve can you believe people still hire me Walsh
Springboks vs Pumas Prediction: Bokke by 12-20