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