Temperature expected to rise under the roof when Boks take on Canada
The teams have come to blows before, and the stadium will be sticky on Tuesday
Kobe — The Boks are in Kobe and it is perhaps fitting that they square off against a team with whom they famously had beef.
The “Battle of Boet Erasmus”, which almost came to define the Springboks' 1995 Rugby World Cup (RWC) triumph‚ has become the stuff of legend.
The brawl that saw Rod Snow‚ Gareth Rees and James Dalton all red-carded is etched in the memory of those who witnessed it.
In their only other meeting‚ the Boks triumphed 51-18 against Canada in East London in 2000 and it is worth noting they both finished the match with a full complement.
On Tuesday‚ they clash under a roof, and the already barely bearable humidity may well raise the temperature.
Bok No 8 Francois Louw expects to break into a sweat.
“With a closed roof, there should be an increased humidity level‚” said Louw.
Louw‚ a man of calm and considered opinion‚ believes the Boks will stick to their battle plan no matter what.
“Our game plan and structure will stay the same, really. Either way‚ whether the roof is open or closed, it is slippery most of the time. There will be emphasis on ball carrying, and at the breakdown making sure we provide a good platform for our halfbacks to take off from. I think it is more an attitude of taking care of the ball.”
Indeed‚ not taking care of the ball cost them dearly against the All Blacks when they squandered an opportunity of immense promise and coach Rassie Erasmus wants his team to be more ruthless when they play themselves into the strike zone.
Louw’s role changes for this match as he will operate in a back row that also includes captain Siya Kolisi and Kwagga Smith.
“We are all No 6s. It is an interesting combination. These days I find myself at No 8 quite a lot, which is another role I really do enjoy. I’m looking forward to playing with both Siya and Kwagga. They bring quite a dynamic game. I’ve played a lot with Siya and I know what he’s about‚ not so much with Kwagga.
“I’m very pleased he made the step up into the Springbok squad. He’s a tough sevens player. He brings a different dynamic to the back row. He also likes getting stuck in in the tight stuff. We will complement each other where we can. Hopefully we can put together a good performance.”