The Springboks were rusty but still too good for the World XV in their 47-13 win at Newlands on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The game was not a Test, and so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it lacked Test match intensity. There were instances where the World XV forwards got stuck into their Bok counterparts off the ball, but the battle at the gainline and breakdowns were relatively tame.
Apart from the first quarter, which saw the World XV threatening the Bok defence and scoring a try through Alistair Hargreaves, the visitors struggled to make an impact. The Boks led by a slender 18-13 margin at half-time, and began to earn more for their dominance in the second half.
The World XV failed to score a single try in the second stanza, and their negative play would result in two of their players, Mamuka Gorgodze and Jimmy Cowan, spending a period of 10 minutes in the sin bin. Conversely, the Boks built some momentum through two well-executed lineout drives, that led to two Bismarck du Plessis tries. Johan Goosen and Willie le Roux then scored tries at the death to complete the rout.
The game was not the spectacle many had hoped for, and the crowd attendance at Newlands was disappointing (30,000). However, Bok coach Heyneke Meyer will be happy that his team had this warm-up before next week’s clash with Wales.
The hit-out at Newlands was also a valuable exercise in that it allowed several players, namely Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, and Frans Steyn, to ease themselves back into international rugby after a substantial period out of the game.
Springboks – Tries: Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Bismarck du Plessis (2), Johan Goosen, Willie le Roux. Conversion: Morné Steyn (2), Goosen (2). Penalties: Steyn (3):
World XV – Try: Alistair Hargreaves. Conversion: James O’Connor. Penalties: O’Connor (2).
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.
World XV – 15 James O'Connor, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Juandré Kruger, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Subs: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 François Trinh-Duc, 23 Stanley Benson.
LEATHERMAN PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Fullback Willie le Roux was the most consistent of the Springboks at Newlands. He may not have received many attacking opportunities, but took good options when he did run at the defence. His performance under the high ball was nothing short of outstanding.
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