Who will buckle under the pressure in Bloem?
JUNE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus believes the second Test against England in Bloemfontein will be even more intense than their opening encounter in Johannesburg last weekend.
There will be a lot riding on Saturday’s match at the Free State Stadium after the Boks took a 1-0 advantage in the three-Test series with a 42-39 win at Ellis Park.
“If you look at the numbers it [first Test] was an intense game,” said Erasmus. “It was a really fast game and it was an open game. There was a lot of high speed running for props and locks.
“It was an intense game and I guess it is going to more intense [in Bloemfontein] because both teams are really desperate.
“We would like to bury the Test series and they would like to keep it alive so both teams are going to be really desperate. We are plying at altitude again, which is not as bad as in Joburg, so the higher pace in the game the more space there will be, so I guess the intensity is going to be the same or higher.”
Both teams scored five tries in the first Test in Johannesburg in what was a thrilling encounter. The two sides made good use of the space out wide, but Erasmus believes it will be a lot tighter in Bloem.
“England gave us space out wide on Saturday, which the players saw. It wasn’t the plan [to attack the wide channels] when we went into that game. I thought the players read it well, especially when we were under pressure on defence.
“They [Boks’ back three] saw the opportunities on attack and I am sure Eddie [Jones] will change a few things.
“It’s difficult to plan against him, he really changes a lot, but we were exposed and they were exposed, so I guess this weekend will again be about who can fix it the quickest,” Erasmus added.