Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

OPINION: Boks will be better, stronger as epic Durban clash awaits

The world champions as well as the Six Nations winners will be stronger and more in tune when they clash in the second Test.

Well, one thing is for sure, we’re in for one mighty big Test match in Durban this coming weekend. The Boks are chasing a 2-0 series win, while Ireland will be desperate to win and level the series.

If you’re a betting man, good luck.

For me, there’s so little to choose between the rugby teams of South Africa and Ireland I’d not put a Rand of my well-earned salary on either. It’s that close.

The Boks just edged Ireland at Loftus, with the visitors scoring three tries and having another one disallowed (which on another day would have been allowed to stand), while the Boks scored two (with Cheslin Kolbe’s try a lucky one at that), while they needed a Penalty Try (from a great scrum towards the end of the game) to clinch a 50-50 game.

As I’ve said, there’s nothing much between these two teams.

Both outfits will be better in Durban, having had an 80-minute effort behind them.

Boks to fix these areas

Rassie Erasmus will work hard with his players this week to get a better grip on the more attack-minded game introduced by new assistant Tony Brown, while the defence, too, now run by Jerry Flannery, will be looked at, as well.

And then there are the other aspects that will need attention: the scrum, which wasn’t nearly as good generally on Saturday as it’s been during the last few years, the lineout, which was also a bit wonky at times at Loftus, while the three missed goal kicks by Handre Pollard was also somewhat concerning.

On another day, like at the World Cup last year when Manie Libbok missed a few, it would have cost the Boks the match. Thankfully, Ireland’s Jack Crowley also missed a few on Saturday.

As Erasmus said after the first Test on Saturday, there was some good stuff produced by his team, but there were also some awful moments from the world champions.

Now, with the rust shaken off and the players having a framework to prepare from, let’s see what the Boks can do this coming weekend, in what should be another classic, hard-fought affair in Durban.

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