Ox gets his cake, and eats it
Springbok loose head prop however, isn't expecting easy pickings on Saturday
Ox Nché's cake craving has met a happy ending in Edinburgh.
The Springbok loose head prop's wish this week to reduce to crumbs confectionery containing “chocolate caramel or vanilla” has been satisfied but he's not expecting his team's battle against Scotland on Saturday to be a piece of cake, or short bread for that matter.
Scotland are not easily downed as the Wallabies discovered at Murrayfield last weekend.
“They take pride in their set pieces and their mauling. They got a lot of reward from the scrums. We are expecting a good challenge there,” said Nché in an online media conference.
Scotland has become a complex, multilayered creation under coach Gregor Townsend, and these days even contains some good old SA vetkoek in the shape of Pierre Schoeman, who like Nché, wears the No.1 jersey.
In their coaches' box Scotland also boast the services of former Bok scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.
“We have a goal to achieve. It is not against any individuals but against the entire pack,” said Nché about the SA presence in the opposing camp. “We need to show our physicality. We don't see it as seven Scottish guys and Pierre. We just want to exert our plan onto them.
“It will be a different kind of battle,” said Nché about this week's task compared to the one they faced against Wales. “I worked with Pieter de Villiers at SA Schools and u20 level. I know he is a very good coach. We can see how well they did against Australia.”
Schoeman did duty against the Wallabies last week and helped deliver a scrumming performance that contributed richly to their 15-13 victory over the team that beat the Springboks in back-to-back battles in the Rugby Championship.
“It is very different because they pose different challenges,” said Nché about the prospect of playing the team that vanquished the Wallabies last week. “We can't use the same rationale. If you look at Australia and New Zealand. The All Blacks have been beating Australia the last few years and we beat the All Blacks.
“It is a unique challenge with every team I'd like to think,” explained Nché.
Elton Jantjies backs pack
Elton Jantjies, who takes over the No.10 this weekend, has no doubt the Bok forwards will again rise to the challenge in the way they did against Wales in their 23-18 victory last Saturday. “I know our boys will be ready,” said Jantjies.
Jantjies' selection raised the mouthwatering prospect of him going head-to-head with Scotland's much vaunted playmaker Finn Russell.
Jantjies, recognises the threat that Russell possesses, without reaching for the hyperbole that often follows the Scotland playmaker.
“We all saw what he is capable of in that last Test of the British & Irish Lions,” said Jantjies. “I really think he made a big difference. He challenged our group in a different way.
“For us it is about working on our systems. We must make sure we stop what he throws at us.”
Like Jantjies, Russell is a player gifted with touch and vision from a different dimension but he doesn't always reach for his bag of tricks. Russell is equally adept at playing the percentages and it is anyone's guess what part of his repertoire he will reach for on Saturday.
“We'll see in first 10, 15 minutes which way they are going to play,” said Jantjies. “Then it is up to us to find solutions.”