South Africa vs England 2012: Preview and Prediction – 3rd Test
First up, massive congrats to the Baby Boks for making the final of the IRB Junior World Championships. Sheer quality boys. Maverick thumbs up.
The Baby Boks dominated their semi-final against the Pumitas (Argentina U20 side) scoring five tries to nil in a fairly well supported Newlands on Sunday night. The Baby Boks now face the Baby Blacks in the final on Friday night at Newlands, so if you are in the neighbourhood, swing on down. The Baby Boks are looking very good and regardless of the result of the final, the future of Springbok rugby looks to be in safe hands, especially if these guys can kick on to senior level rugga.
Speaking of senior level rugga (smooth paragraph transition… check), well done to the Springboks for winning the series against England. They will of course be looking for a clean sweep and Heyneke Meyer has said he wants the Springboks to be near impossible to beat at home and rightly so. Injuries and a wedding have forced his hand as far as team selection goes and Stormers fans will be jizzing in their pants with news that Joe Pietersen and Gio Aplon have been called in to the squad.
Can the Boks make it 10 wins in a row over the English? Will Aplon razzle dazzle with his lightning speed off the mark and will Port Elizabeth be filled to the brim with passionate former rugby starved fans?
Yes they can, I certainly hope so and of course it will, let’s delve deeper.
Springboks vs England
Pat Lambie and Willem Alberts have not recovered from their injuries and with Zane Kirchner out and Frans Steyn off to tie the knot this Saturday, Gio Aplon gets to start at fullback with flank Jacques Potgieter stepping in for Alberts. Wynand Olivier will come in for Frans Steyn and partner Jean de Villiers, recently named captain for the rest of the year, at centre.
The Boks will miss Alberts, as he has been in sublime form with his smash over you runs and pick you up and drive you backwards defensive showings. Potgieter has had a good season for the Bulls though and has shown a lot of promise but with him and Marcell Coetzee still very new to test rugby, Pierre Spies will have to be at his best in his 50th Bok game. Olivier is another who needs to have a massive game and although he did not do too much with ball in hand last week his defense was pleasingly solid. In other changes, Ryan Kankowski comes onto the bench for Keegan Daniel and Elton Jantjies gets a chance to make his Bok debut, taking Olivier’s bench spot.
For England, captain Chris Robshaw has been sent home with a fractured thumb and scrumhalf Ben Youngs, who scored two tries last week is out with a shoulder injury. Coach Stuart Lancaster has chosen hooker Dylan Hartley, to take over the captaincy from Robshaw, with James Haskill the flank replacement and kiwi Thomas Waldrom coming in at 8th man. Interestingly, the new captain has just come off an 8 week ban for biting in a premiership game. You stay classy Dylan Hartley.
England benefitted from injuries to key Bok players last week but full credit to their attitude and resolve in coming back into the game after trailing 25-10 at halftime. They dominated the scrums and rucks late in the game when the du Plessis brothers, Alberts and Juandre Kruger had come off and will take a lot of confidence from their second half performance.
JP Pietersen had his best game for the Boks in years and showed again how valuable experience can be. Olivier may well be a weak point and there are some new faces in the side but the Boks will be keen to finish on a high, the stadium will be packed and Morne will surely once again remember how to kick for poles. I reckon the Boks will win this one to send England packing with only two mid-week wins against Vodacom Cup level opponents.
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-Off: Sat 23 June, 5:00pm
Referee: Steve Walsh
Springboks vs England Prediction: Bokke by 7-15