Rugby Championship

Henry 'presence' no issue

2012-08-14 07:47
Heyneke Meyer (File)

Cape Town - In recent weeks, the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup winning coach Graham Henry has been an adviser to Argentina coach Santiago Phelan but Springbok mentor Heyneke Meyer feels it will not influence they way they play.

"All teams play to their strengths and we know what their strengths are," said Meyer on Monday.

"Henry won't attempt to change the way they play, but he will work on their mental strength and try to up their levels of professionalism. Those are the things he'll try to bring to their game.

"I've seen a lot of footage of their games and I've coached two players in their present squad while I was at Leicester [as head coach in 2008] so I know how they play.

"They have a great scrum, they are great maulers, and I've noticed that their strength has improved, as well as their fitness levels."

Meyer said the Boks were working hard on aspects of play which were shown up in the Tests against England eight weeks ago.

"We've worked on our fitness because I noticed we didn't fall back the way we should have when England kicked (upfield)," said Meyer. "We need to deal with the high ball as well as the opponents' defensive kicks. Mondays we set aside to do a lot of work on our kicking. We need to be tactically aware all the time.

"We've also been working on our reaction to opponents taking quick tap penalties because we were shown up by England."

Meyer said he was still not 100% decided about the players to make the team for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash at Newlands.

"The locks remain a concern and another concern is the (substitutes) bench," said Meyer. "This season, deciding on the composition of the team won't be easy and we'll have to take it game by game."

The Bok team will show several changes, mostly along the backline, from the side that played against England in the third and final Test in Port Elizabeth, at the end of June.

Meyer is likely to go with Zane Kirchner at No 15 and have Patrick Lambie providing cover on the bench. Meyer said Lambie had recovered well from an ankle injury and he was pleased with his progress.

Frans Steyn selects himself as Jean de Villiers's centre partner.

On Monday, Meyer once again sang Steyn's praises for his ball-carrying skills and his booming boot, which is capable of landing goals from inside the Boks' half of the field.

The every-improving Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo is set for a run-on berth in place of Pietersen.

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts reported that loose forward Keegan Daniel had been bitten by a spider. "We have no idea where it came from, but Keegan reported to me that he had a stiffness in his arm. He's responded well to antibiotics and was feeling much better today (Monday) than yesterday(Sunday)."


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