English rugby columnists Stuart Barnes and Brian Moore say Eddie Jones’ England must be dreading their upcoming Test against the resurgent Springboks.
Despite suffering an agonising 32-30 defeat against the All Blacks at Loftus on Saturday, the Boks have been widely lauded for their superb performance.
In his column for The Times, ex-England flyhalf Barnes wrote that this was the Boks’ best display in the Rugby Championship.
‘Against a South Africa team showing the old spirit in the green jersey, it will take a fine performance [from England] to beat them on 3 November. Make no mistake, this was South Africa’s best effort in the championship. The signs are self-evident; the Boks are back and they will bring their brutality to Twickenham.
‘The first five minutes indicated the way that this match was going and, more importantly, the way the Springboks are heading. Their forwards ran over the All Blacks. Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Malcolm Marx and Eben Etzebeth won the collisions for most of the match. This allowed their halfbacks to perform on the front foot while the All Blacks were forced to operate off scraps — and not particularly tasty morsels at that. The impact was and is huge and New Zealand were reduced to what, for them, was rubble.
‘No side in the world would fancy playing against the ferocity of this onslaught and only New Zealand could have survived it. A year out from the World Cup and South Africa are in a position to believe that they can beat the All Blacks on the opening weekend in Japan and go on to great things.’
In his column for The Telegraph, Moore, who played hooker for England between 1987 and 1995, questioned where Jones will find players to match the impact of Bok duo Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx when the sides meet at Twickenham in November.
‘How to compete against two of the best teams [New Zealand and South Africa] on the planet – physical, talented and brave and with a lot of rugby common sense as well?
‘Where, for example, will Jones find the equal of Faf de Klerk? A livewire scrumhalf with an uncanny ability to exploit the narrow side and a running threat that perpetually keeps opposition back rows honest. He is the fulcrum which is the basis of all that the Springboks do well. Neither Danny Care nor Ben Youngs mounts the constant running threat of De Klerk.
‘Can he [Jones] find a match for Malcolm Marx, who does the basics well but also carries the ball with menace? The selection at hooker is complicated by Jones’ loyalty to Dylan Hartley as his captain.’
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