Smal's aura a threat to Boks
Bloemfontein - Gert Smal’s aura in Irish rugby will be a threat to the Springboks on their Grand Slam tour.
According to Leinster’s South African hooker, Richardt Strauss, the Irish are looking forward to the Test against South Africa at the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin on November 6.
As in 2009, Smal’s presence could be a major problem for the Boks, with Strauss saying the Irish players have a high regard for their national forwards coach.
“They talk about him a lot and have a high regard for him – especially as far as Gert’s attention to detail in the lineouts are concerned,” the former Cheetahs hooker said from Dublin.
“Ireland are excited about the Tests, especially the ones against the Springboks and All Blacks. The Springbok Test is the first one they will play in the new stadium (formerly Lansdowne Road). I think the Test will carry a lot of meaning for them. They will also be confident they can do it again after last year’s win (against the Boks).”
Strauss, who is a team-mate of Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll at Leinster, believes Ireland did well to pick forward Sean O’Brien.
“There are a number of Irish players performing well. The Boks, and CJ van der Linde in particular, will know about the majority of them. O’Brien is one player they won’t know much about and is in good form.”
If Strauss has any advice for the Bok selectors before they announce the tour squad on Saturday, it’s not to forget about Munster’s Wian du Preez, Leinster’s Heinke van der Merwe and Ulster’s BJ Botha.
“The Boks have three good props in those players over here and can look to them if they pick up problems.”