South Africa vs England 2012: Preview and Prediction – 2nd Test
Oh Happy Day!
Oh Happy Day!
When England loooose
When England loooose
Twice in 4 days!
Lyrics and music by rennton.
Jokes and terrible songs aside, a hearty congratulations to the Springboks for downing England in Durban and to the Baby Boks for beating the U20 England side in Cape Town a few days later. Glorious times!
The Baby Boks needed to score 4 tries and beat England by 10 points or more to secure a place in the semi-finals of the IRB Junior World Championship and after trailing 0-3 at half time looked to be dead in the water. Thankfully, after what must have been a pretty powerful half time talk by coach Dawie Theron, they set passion and pride levels to maximum and came out in the second half and played with a precision and cohesion as yet unseen by the U20 side.
A magical 40 mins later and a spot in the semis against Argentina at Newlands on Sunday awaits. The Baby Boks never looked like losing after two quick tries in front of an impressive crowd on a chilly Tuesday evening and deserve full credit and maverick thumbs up for a quality performance. The game was played at Greenpoint Stadium and the field looked in tip-top condition. Let’s hope we get to see more rugby fixtures there in the future (yes I am talking to you WPRU).
On to this Saturday now as the Springboks face England in the second Test.
Last week in Durban, the Boks were decidedly rusty, especially in the first half and full credit to England for putting pressure on the them, especially at the breakdowns. This England side is better than they have been in a while and the game this Saturday will be just as tough as last week, let’s have a closer look.
Springboks vs England
England smashed the SA Barbarian South side in Kimberly yesterday 54 – 26 and coach Lancaster will be happy to have given his second string side a run but it will not have been too pleasing to him to see a side made up of players from the Currie Cup First Division score four tries against them, either.
In team news, centre, Brad Barritt is out with a lacerated eyeball (eeeeuw) and the impressive fullback, Mike Brown has been sent home with a fractured thumb. Jonathan Joseph makes his debut at 13, while Manusamoa Tuilagi replaces Barritt at 12. Ben Foden moves to fullback and David Strettle take his place on the wing. Toby Flood moves up from the bench to replace Owen Farrell at flyhalf and word has it, he is super stoked.
England started and finished well last week and will be hoping they can take some momentum from their last-minute try into this game. The loss of Barritt and Brown will be felt though as both were in fine form before being injured. In the forwards, Mouritz Botha was very impressive and will be keen to keep hassling Frans Hougaard as much as possible. England however, will need to improve in the scrums and on defense and be even more physical up front if they are to level the series.
Heyneke Meyer has made three changes to the starting 22 with Pat babyface Lambie coming in for the injured Zane Kirchener, with Bjorn Basson taking his place on the bench and Werner Kruger coming in for the injured Coennie Oosthuizen. Lambie played well when he came on in the 2nd half and a good performance on Sat may well see him cement his place at fullback.
Willem Alberts was man of the match last week and rightly so with smash them in their face runs and big defense being his preferred modus operandi. Captain Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana could well have taken the honours as both had their best games for the Bokke in ages.
Pierre Spies was better than he has been recently but is still not quite firing and Meyer will be hoping he can up his game once again. With Spies’s physical prowess, power and speed, his disappointing performances are clearly a mental issue but if there is a man who can sort that out it is Meyer, who originally moved him from wing to 8th man.
All the talk coming out of the camp this week is about how they need to improve and meet the standards they have set themselves, which has been great to hear. The Bokke need to be looking ahead to the Castle Championships and judging by the All Blacks are still a touch off the pace. They should be far more clinical this week, especially at the breakdown and will look to build on what was a very impressive scrum performance. New Bok scrum coach Pieter de Villiers has already made an impact and will be keen on further scrum dominance from his tight five.
England may well change tactics and run more at the Bokke and try to move their big pack around but they should be ready for this and if the forwards can be more accurate at the breakdown, Frans Hougaard should get the ball out quicker which could well lead to more Bok line breaks and hopefully more tries.
I reckon the Boks will win this one more comfortably and wrap up the series but not before having to deal with another fiery first half England performance.
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Joburg
Referee: Alain Rolland
Kick-Off: Sat 16th June, 5:05pm
Springboks vs England Prediction: Bokke by 7-15