Springboks turn attention to rivals England at Twickenham

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Makazole Mapimpi celebrates with Willie le Roux after scoring one of his two tries.
Makazole Mapimpi celebrates with Willie le Roux after scoring one of his two tries.
Image: @Springboks/Twitter

After two wins over Wales and Scotland, the Springboks now shift their attention to the last match of the outgoing European tour against rivals England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Boks, who go into the crunch match against England on a three-match winning streak after victories over New Zealand, Wales and Scotland, are looking to end the season on a high.

The South Africans will be up against an equally fired up England side who trounced Australia 32-15 on Saturday and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said they must be thoroughly prepared.

“We must do everything in our power to make sure that we have a good build-up to this game,” he said after the 30-15 win over Scotland in Murrayfield.

“We want to build momentum and I said to the players afterwards this is a big week for us. The England pack at Twickenham against the SA pack is going to be a nice challenge for us.

“We want to build momentum going into the 2022 and we are going to change things here and there by giving guys opportunities. We want to get experience into the younger guys even though they don’t seem young.

“A guy like Herschel Jantjies has already won the World Cup but he hasn’t played much. Although he is an established player, he needs to gain more experience so that he is able to operate on these conditions like this in Murrayfield.”

In the win over Scotland, the Boks produced a powerful second-half performance after being down 10-8 at halftime and more of the same will be expected against England.

Makazole Mapimpi scored a brace of tries, Elton Jantjies and Handré Pollard and Frans Steyn kicked a combined total of six penalties as the team delivered a solid performance in which the forward pack laid a strong foundation.

“We are fortunate to have two quality front rows, who work in tandem and the guys that started laid the foundation, which the replacements built on nicely when they took the field,” added Nienaber.

“In the build-up to the match, we said as a team that everyone thinks Scotland is a great attacking team. They’ve actually been the best defensive team in the northern hemisphere in 2020 and 2021, as they conceded the least points in the Six Nations and the Autumn Internationals. So we always knew it was going to be tough to break them down.

“In the first few minutes of the match we had all the territory and possession, but we knew that if we keep on knocking it will consume energy and we hoped to get a few opportunities at the back end of the match, and it turned out that way.”

Kolisi added that converting their opportunities into points was one of the key themes in the camp this past week, and lauded his teammates for delivering on this.

“We didn’t change anything,” said Kolisi.

“The difference today was the way we used our opportunities, which we didn’t do as effectively against Australia and New Zealand.

“We scored two tries and there were times when we applied so much pressure they kicked the ball, and we won it back.

“That’s what Jacques has been driving — to see the opportunities and use them, and we did that today.”