Preview: England vs Springboks – 27 November 2010
What is it about English teams that makes everyone so desperate to beat them in almost every sport?
It could be that they rate themselves so highly that it is a pleasure to watch them fall from self-created lofty heights. Maybe there is still some resentment about that whole colonising and trying to take over the world malarkey. Either way when they fail, especially at home, it certainly brings a smile to the face.
Whatever the reason, you can bet that the Springboks will not need any further motivation to beat England at Twickenham.
Snow, sleet, rain and less than zero degree temperatures are predicted for Saturday’s game which will level the playing fields somewhat. It may even benefit the Bokke as the back line has failed to fire in all three games so far and it is in the forwards where they still have the slimmest of hopes.
When informed of the conditions Matfield put on his best poker face and said that the Bokke did not mind and would be ready no matter what the weather.
The less said about the Bokke’s play last week the better. They were comprehensively outplayed by the Scottish in awful conditions and failed once again to adapt to the inconsistent referee. Matfield did not handle the ref well at all and we missed John Smit. One of the reasons for the All black’s success is their ability to adapt to the referee’s interpretations and if the Boks hope to have any chance in the RWC they need to develop these skills and fast.
Pieter de Villiers has said that the Bok game plan is correct but the execution is lacking. Whether he is right remains to be seen as the Bokke have not executed the plan properly all year. One thing is for sure and that is if we are going to keep to the kick chase plan, we need guys like Fourie Du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brussouw, Schalk Burger, JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana back in the squad.
PdV was actually excited about the snow and when asked for comment, he was all smiles. “Ja .. no.. well for us it is exciting especially since we can make ‘snow angels’ and build snowmen!” When asked how this would assist the Bokke on Saturday, he ran off yelling that he needed to find a carrot and some stones to make a mustache for ‘Snowy’.
The Springboks tend to play better as underdogs and given the weather this game may well be a low scoring affair with plenty of big hits on defence and solid set piece play and they should at least have parity in these areas. Most people have written off the Springboks for this game and this is surely the best chance for England in the last 4 years.
Expect big collissions, testing kicks, rolling mauls, re-set scrums, phase play and arm wrestle northern hemisphere rugby.
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick Off: 4:30pm
Referee: George Clancy
Prediction: Eng by less than 7