The pride of South African sport will clash at the Wanderers on Friday night when the Springboks take on Hashim Amla’s Proteas.
The inaugural fixture took place in Cape Town at the beginning of the year and although the Proteas won comfortably, the rugby players showed that they are more than capable of competing. The Springboks were incredible on the field, especially patrolling the boundary, where several brilliant catches were snaffled.
This match gives the Springboks a shot at revenge and there are a few factors to suggest that they will be even better than they were at Newlands. They have experienced the atmosphere before and should be more focused on executing their skills this time around. The thin air in Johannesburg will also help them put all that time in the gym to good use as they attempt to muscle as many balls into the stands as possible. Lastly, and most importantly, Mark Boucher has joined the team in a coaching capacity. His knowledge of the opposition will provide the Springboks with a clear game-plan, as they attempt to earn the ultimate bragging rights.
Hashim Amla’s charges will also be desperate to produce a good performance. They will want to put on an exhibition for the crowd and would never live it down if they were knocked over by a makeshift team.
Players to watch:
Amla will open the batting and has a habit of cashing in against the weaker attacks around the world. The Springboks are expected to show intensity in the field, but the silent warrior won’t be intimidated and should make them fetch leather. For the Springboks, Willem Alberts was the pick of the bowlers at Newlands. He took two wickets off consecutive balls and will be eager to go one better this time around and complete a hat-trick.
It will be a really high-scoring game with the ball disappearing into the stands regularly. The Proteas discipline will come to the fore when things get tight, though, which will ultimately be the difference of the day.
Preview compiled by Gareth Stevens.