Springbok Captain John Smit says that this week’s match against England will define the Boks tour, and indeed their year…it will also be the last Test the Boks play until the first Test against the Lions in June.
“We have been inconsistent this season, but to go undefeated on this tour, and in doing so play well against England, would mean a lot to us,” says Smit.
“England at Twickenham always provides a special challenge to us, and we look forward to seeing what Australia got right against them.”
Smit did a marvellous job in setting the example for the listless Boks against the Scots. He had a super game, making big tackles and taking the ball up powerfully, and in renewing his lineout duties, he hit his jumpers on every single occasion, having had to take over from hamstrung Bismarck du Plessis as early as the fifth minute.
Bismarck du Plessis has been given until this afternoon to show that he has a chance of recovering by Saturday. He will almost certainly be ruled out and then the call will go out to brother Jannie to get on the first plane to London.
The other casualty from Murrayfield, Gurthro Steenkamp, had a scan on the ankle he turned over and there is no serious damage.
You can read more about the South African view on the tour and upcoming England game on the IOL Sport website.
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The autumn rugby internationals continue to provide somewhat depressing food for thought ahead on next year’s British Lions tour of South Africa.
All three of the big Southern Hemisphere teams managed to post victories over the Home Nations, with only the Springboks looking in any way vulnerable. Even here, the second half comeback that saw them post 14 points without reply emphasises how difficult it will be in South Africa next year – there are few teams in any sport which are as dangerous as the Springboks when their backs are against the wall.
England enjoyed good possession against the Aussies, but ultimately gave away far too many penalties and lacked the true attacking flair to turn possession into points. The English scrum also looked unconvincing against Austrailia, and this is an area that the South Africans will be looking to exploit next week.
It appears the next week’s England v South Africa game will be the only realistic chance of the Home Nations getting a victory against any of the Southern Hemisphere teams – I cannot see the All Blacks or Aussie slipping up in any of their remaining games, although Wales will be keen to push them all the way.
Match reports and opinion on the BBC Sport web site.
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It may still be over six months to the start of the 2009 British Lions Tour of South Africa (the first game is the Lions vs a Highveld XV on 30th May), however excitement is already rising with the recent unveiling of the Official Lions Jersey and, of course, the Springboks in the UK at the moment for the Autumn rugby internationals.
Lions coach Ian McGeehan has already said that he will be keeping a close eye on both potential Lions and the ‘boks, starting with the first game tomorrow aginst 2008 6 Nations champions Wales in Cardiff.
Despite winning last years Rugby World Cup, the Springboks finished a disappointing Tri-Nations series a distant last behind Australia and a dominant All Black side that secured a 9th Tri-Nations championship with victory over the Aussies in the final game. The Springboks by contrast only won two of their six games, but they are bound to be a different proposition both on the current tour and when the Lions are in SA next year.
Demand from fans wanting to follow the Lions is expected to be high despite the recent credit crunch, with up to 50,000 fans predicted to make the journey south. You can see a schedule for the tour and suggestions for safaris and other activites to fill the gap between games in our guide to the 2009 British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa.
Last week the British Lions unveiled the 2009 version of their famous red jersey.For the fourth tour in succession, sportswear manufacturers Adidas have been responsible for the design of the shirt which will be a major seller in the shops, with an estimated 50,000 supporters heading to South Africa next June.You can see the shirt and read tour manager Gerland Davies’ comments on the Daily Telegraph’s blog about the Lions Shirt.If you are interested in following the Lions next year then we would be delighted to help you to plan and book your trip to follow the Brirish Lions 2009 Tour to South Africa.
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