Boks ‘target whitewash’
19 June 2012 | RUDOLPH JACOBS
PORT ELIZABETH – This assurance came yesterday from Bok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard as the Boks finished their second day of preparation at Grey High School in the city.
“We rate this Test as just as important as the other two,” assured Hougaard yesterday ahead of the Test at the impressive stadium, which has already sold most of the available 45 000 tickets.
The Bok No 9 gave the assurance they will be highly motivated despite clinching the series with wins of 22-17 in Durban and 36-27 in Johannesburg last weekend.
“To make it 3-0 in the series would really be special and the guys are up for it and looking very positive,” he said.
Hougaard is set to start his third consecutive game in his 18th Test for the Boks when coach Heyneke Meyer names the Test team today.
The young Bulls halfback scored his fourth Test try last weekend. Even though the Boks have scored six tries in the two Tests against England, they have also conceded four.
“I think in the second Test we focused more on fixing our breakdowns, and we will be looking at building on the things that worked for us in the game,” he assured.
“After two wins the guys are ready to go full out and it will be cool to get a third straight win for a possible whitewash,” he said.
The inclusion of some fringe players in the squad this week like Stormers’ fullback Joe Pietersen also added some excitement in the group, he said.
“I remember when I first joined the squad ... what an awesome feeling it was.
“It is such an amazing opportunity, the chance to represent your country,” he said.
And he assured that he it doesn’t affect him personally now that England’s scrumhalf Ben Youngs, who scored two tries last weekend, is being ruled out with a shoulder injury.
“I think three of their No 9s are good players, but it’s not so much the individual that we focus on, otherwise you can lose focus. It’s more important for me what I have to do on the field,” he said.
However, the 24-year-old gave an assurance they still have a lot of work to do as was evident from a poor first half in Durban and a below-par second half last weekend.
“I think England would be looking to play off our mistakes and make the game fast,” he predicted yesterday.
The reception they received during an open session on Monday was quite astonishing, Hougaard said, and while yesterday was a closed session, another open session is being planned for today.
“It was a pleasant surprise, it was like playing a game. So many people were there, and I haven’t been at a training session with so many people present ever before,” he said.
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