Boks on Tour

Bakkies: I'm ready for England

2010-11-22 22:33

Stephen Nell

London – Springbok lock Bakkies Botha says he gets “goose bumps” when he thinks of the physical side of Saturday’s test against England at Twickenham.

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Botha was one of South Africa’s star performers when they thrashed England 42-6 there in 2008. However, there aren’t many parallels that can be drawn between the England team of 2008 and Martin Johnson’s class of 2010.

If England picked the same side that recently beat Australia 35-18 for Saturday’s match, only lock Tom Palmer and No 8 Nick Easter will remain from the starting line-up that lost to the Boks two years ago.

England have developed into a side capable of an impressive expansive game under the new law interpretations.

However, they are also likely to be up for a better physical scrap than was the case in 2008, even if they are far from a complete side.

“A test against England at Twickenham stays something special. It’s a tough and physical test, and one we’re looking forward to,” Botha said after Monday morning’s Bok training session.

“England showed with their recent wins over Australia and Samoa that they are a formidable side. They have a big pack and quick backs. If the squad is kept together and they build on that, it will be a dangerous side at next year’s World Cup.”

Botha added that the team had closed the door on the weekend’s loss to Scotland.

“It was a difficult weekend for us, but the door is now closed and the focus is on England. We had a great training session this morning and there is still hard work that lies ahead. It’s important that we finish the tour well,” he said.

“A defeat like the one against Scotland hurts. But what matters is how many times you get up, not how many times you fall. That is the way we are looking at it.

“We now want a big performance against England. It will be a great win if we can pull it off.

“We did not play well against Scotland, but it does not help us to take negative energy into the weekend’s game. It’s over and done with. This is a new week, a new day and there are new challenges.”

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