Strauss relishes Bok chance
Edinburgh – The circumstances aren’t ideal, but Adriaan Strauss is not complaining.
“I see this as a great opportunity,” the Springbok team’s new reserve hooker said after being asked to do duty on South Africa’s bench for Saturday’s Test against Scotland at Murrayfield in the absence of Chiliboy Ralepelle.
Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson were both sent home earlier this week after testing positive for a stimulant.
“It’s not ideal, but it’s always great to pull over the Bok jersey. It’s a huge honour and will always be one, irrespective of how I get the opportunity,” said Strauss.
Strauss has played 7 Tests, but the 24-year-old has a fight on his hands to build significantly on that. Bismarck du Plessis is the man in the saddle, while John Smit will return as captain next year.
South Africa also have Ralepelle and Bandise Maku, as well as outstanding hookers in Gary Botha and Tiaan Liebenberg.
“The motivation to play for the Boks is always there, irrespective of whether you are first or fifth in line. I just look to stay on par and be ready when the opportunity comes along. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
The Boks’ front row will be engaged in a tough battle with the Scots, who have British Lions players Ross Ford and Euan Murray in their front row.
“Scotland will be physical. Our scrumming has gone well to date, but Os (du Randt, scrum coach) told us that we will be in for a hiding if we don’t pitch mentally,” said Strauss.
“There are still a number of areas in our game that requires attention. We’d like to keep the ball in hand more and run at them. That is one of the big areas we’d like to focus on.”
“I hope I get the chance to show what I can do. All I can do is to give everything and hopefully bring some intensity if I get on in the second half.”
Meanwhile, Francois Hougaard is keen to build on his performances in this year’s Tri-Nations. It was a surprise when he was not picked in the Boks’ starting line-up from the outset on this tour.
“I was not upset that Ruan Pienaar was picked ahead of me. He’s a very good player. It’s my responsibility to make the most of the opportunity that I get,” said Hougaard.
“The conditions here are difficult for someone who is used to sunshine and dry fields, but it’s no excuse. It’s about who wants it the most on the day.
“We have to play within the team’s structures, but if a gap opens up, I will take it!”