Deft touches: RG Snyman brushes aside England’s George Ford in the first Test… the tourists can expect much of the same in Saturday’s Test in Bloemfontein. Picture: GAVIN BARKER/BACKPAGEPIX
Deft touches: RG Snyman brushes aside England’s George Ford in the first Test… the tourists can expect much of the same in Saturday’s Test in Bloemfontein. Picture: GAVIN BARKER/BACKPAGEPIX

If England wondered why the South African lock production line was in such rude health, the most recent graduate to the highest level, RG Snyman, left no-one in doubt on Tuesday.

"It is the pure brutality of the locks in SA. A lot of big guys that just want to hurt each other," said the behemoth, who is again likely to start this weekend.

Snyman may be a brute but he also possesses softer touches, which had some musing that his lock play is a hybrid of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha. "That is a tough question. It is for you to decide. I just play my game," said Snyman when asked which player he resembles most.

He may have the loping stride of a giraffe but don’t be fooled as he has a serious turn of speed for a tight forward.

On one occasion at Ellis Park last week he suddenly emerged from heavy traffic and strode clear of the England forwards. It required a determined chase to haul him in.

"When I realised no-one was tackling me I just decided to go for it," Snyman said with a wide grin. "I was giving the two debutant wingers a bit of trouble. I was looking for them but they didn’t seem to come. I’ll have to slow down for them next time."

Apart from the ability to burst into wide open spaces, Snyman also possesses a deft touch to put others away. "I played a bit of flyhalf in primary school so maybe it was a bit of skill development then," he quipped.

He made quite an entrance in Test rugby last week but things did not start the way he had envisaged.

"In the first 20 minutes it felt like it was never going to end," he said of the period that saw the Boks go into a 24-3 deficit. "After that I was happy that we got it together. Duane [Vermeulen] had a talk to us behind the posts and we pulled it through nicely."

He expects England to come even harder this week as they try to keep the series alive.

"Like us, I think they also learnt from that first Test. They’ll come back harder this week. They got to Faf [de Klerk] a bit around the fringes, so there is a bit of work to do for us. With the mauls we have put in a lot of work this week."

In his first outing he noticed a distinct difference between what he has become accustomed to in Super Rugby and the game at the highest level.

"The intensity and the physicality you cannot compare. It is called Test rugby for a reason."

Bok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot noted Snyman has gone from strength to strength this season.

"He’s grown. I thought he had a fantastic first Test match. The influence he had for the Bulls he brought to the Springboks. He’s got an appetite to work. He’s an intelligent rugby player. He’s a weapon. He must spoil it for the teams he plays against," he said.

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