Boks go for experience against anxious Lions
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Nobody can accuse the Springboks of going out on a limb. Thirteen of the fourteen forwards in their just-announced Test squad have a total of 452 caps between them, with Chiliboy Ralepelle being the ‘almost’ new kid on the block with only three to his distinctive name.
Ten of the backs total 331 caps between them, the less experienced being Odwa Ndungane and Jongi Nokwe, each with 3. There are just new caps in the squad, Morne Steyn and Earl Rose.
However, the immediate focus is on the British and Irish Lions on Wednesday night when they play the Golden Lions.
Brian O’Driscoll is the captain for the visitors, alongside no less than eleven other players getting their first run on the tour. So people are wondering if, because of the poor showing against the Royal XV, Geech has been forced to play his Saturday side mid-week.
The bottom line is that, with the starting team retaining only three players from last Saturday, this is in effect another first game for the Lions. But this one will be in front of the majority of their fans who’ll be arriving for what they consider to be the real beginning of the tour.
At the same time, Coke Park (actually Coca-Cola Park, which is the old Ellis Park if you were confused) is sold out, so they’ll be more Saffers than Barmies.
And the noise will be phenomenal.
As for predictions, while it’s true that the locals did not have a great Super 14, won’t have Jacques Fourie, and are understrength in the second row, they can still list, as of writing, Lawrence Sephaka, Andre Pretorius, Jano Vermaak, and a fine back row led by Cobus Grobbelaar and Willem Alberts.
So stand back, there may be blood.
Commenting on last Saturday’s game, Jamie Roberts was reported to have described it as the wake up call the Lions needed.
It would have been less embarrassing had the Lions just set their alarm clocks.