Springboks wary of Samoa

2013-06-21 15:00
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)

Pretoria - South Africa are wary of Samoa before they clash in a four-nation tournament final on Saturday despite a string of large victories over the Pacific islanders

Springbok winning margins of 52 points twice, 50, 42, 28 and 27 were achieved with the only 'respectable' defeat suffered by Samoa being 13-5 at the pool stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Only five of that South African side will run out at the 52 000-seat Loftus Versfeld stadium while there are seven Samoan survivors from the team beaten at Albany in New Zealand

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has been impressed by the form of the islanders during the mini-league phase of a tournament featuring Test double-headers on three consecutive weekends.

Star left-wing Alesana Tuilagi bagged a brace of tries as Samoa outmuscled Scotland 27-17 in Durban and another five were scored last weekend in a 39-10 trouncing of Italy in Nelspruit.

It was a pleasant change from the Samoans' first weekend in the republic this June when a side lacking several stars suffered a humiliating 74-14 loss to demoted Super Rugby outfit the Golden Lions.

"Samoa have a strong squad and are benefiting from their best players competing in the Super Rugby championship and at top club level in Europe," warned former Bulls coach Meyer.

The Springboks survived some second-half hiccups to down Italy 44-10, but did not seal a flattering 30-17 victory over Scotland until substitute centre Jan Serfontein snatched a last-minute try.

Serfontein, skipper of the 2012 IRB World Junior Championship-winning team, is among several newcomers this season as Meyer seeks to broaden his player base ahead of stiffer Rugby Championship (formerly Tri-Nations) challenges.

Crowd favourite Willie le Roux, a free spirit who plays on the right wing for Central Cheetahs, gets a third outing in a row at full-back and former wing JJ Engelbrecht has looked comfortable at outside centre.

Arno Botha was impressive at flank until an early injury against Scotland ended his season, and gave Siya Kolisi a chance to star as he continued a rags-to-riches rise from township poverty to wearing the green and gold.

Meyer has shuffled his pack for Samoa after a disappointing showing at the breakdown against a Scottish side lacking several key forwards, including injured skipper Kelly Brown.

Powerful ball carrier Willem Alberts is back in place of Botha to get the Springboks over the gain line more often and the return of 'scavenger' Francois Louw, who was married last week, should ensure plentiful ruck and maul ball.

"We underperformed and underachieved against Scotland," admitted Louw from English Premiership club Bath, "but it was a lesson well learnt. You need those games to put things into perspective".

There is also a change at lock with 120kg Flip van der Merwe replacing lighter, line-out specialist Juandre Kruger, and teaming up with Eben Etzebeth as Meyer seeks greater engine-room options.

After a decade of legends Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha lording line-out battles against all-comers, it has come as a shock to Springboks supporters when rivals steal some throws.

Samoa, skippered by outside centre Paul Williams because wing David Lemi is injured, favour an unstructured game which lets Tuilagi and company loose to demonstrate their power and pace.

However, neither Williams nor recalled fullback James So'oialo possesses the match-winning goal-kicking skills of South Africa playmaker Morne Steyn, and it would be a shock if the Springboks did not claim first place.

The Loftus double-header kicks off with a third-place playoff between Six Nations championship rivals Italy and Scotland, who won 34-10 when they last met five months ago in Edinburgh.

Read more on:    springboks  |  heyneke meyer  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Saturday, 04 July 2020
South Africa v Scotland, Cape Town 17:05
Saturday, 11 July 2020
South Africa v Scotland, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 18 July 2020
South Africa v Georgia, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 08 August 2020
South Africa v Argentina, Emirates Airline Park 14:00
Saturday, 15 August 2020
Argentina v South Africa, Estadio Bicentenario 21:45
Saturday, 29 August 2020
Australia v South Africa, Optus Stadium 14:00

Who should walk away the winner in the Team of the Year category at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.