Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Two South African-born elements of England’s
narrow Six Nations victory over old enemies Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday
have earned laurels for their contributions.
Durban-born midfield debutant Brad Barritt, in particular, won
English press approval for his defensive stoutness, while fire-in-the-belly
lock Mouritz Botha, his Saracens team-mate who was born in Vryheid, also didn’t
go unnoticed in the 13-6 win.
Even former England hooker Brian Moore, who is not always
well disposed to anything South African, was moved to say in the Daily
Telegraph: “You can’t under-estimate what this win will have done for
(England’s) inner confidence.
“They were disciplined and did not give away kickable
penalties ... they are also to be praised for their tenacity in defence because
although the first-up tackles were not always solid they scrambled to make
amends with Brad Barritt and Mouritz Botha to the fore.”
Former British and Irish Lions lock Paul Ackford, in the
same paper, gave Botha a match rating of eight out of 10: “Mr Industrious, his
red scrum cap was all over the place. A few too many errors for this level, but
And in rating former Sharks favourite Barritt a 7/10, he
said: “Defensively sound which was what he was brought into the side to do.
Will settle in over the next few games.”
Meanwhile in The Guardian, another ex-international, Dean
Ryan, wrote: “Barritt isn’t the fastest centre in the world but he is strong
and very good defensively and he makes up for that lack of speed with his speed
Ironically the player-of-the-match award went to a member of
the losing side, No 8 David Denton, who is a 21-year-old born in Marondera,
Zimbabwe, and educated at Kingswood College in Grahamstown. It was his first
start for his adopted country.
*The Springboks play a three-Test home series against
England in mid-year, Heyneke Meyer’s debut as new Bok coach.
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