Boks must brace for another physical onslaught says Lood
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok lock Lodewyk de Jager has revealed how Wales intend to spoil Eben Etzebeth and Bongi Mbonambi’s big Springbok milestones.
Etzebeth will earn his 100th Test cap and Mbonambi his 50th when the Springboks take on Wales in the third Test in Cape Town on Saturday.
The 30-year-old, who made his Bok debut in June 2012 against England, will become the youngest South African to reach the 100 cap mark.
He will also be the seventh player to reach the significant career milestone, following in the footsteps of Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana, Tendai Mtawarira, John Smit, Jean de Villiers and Percy Montgomery.
De Jager, who missed last weekend’s 12-13, will pack down in the second row next to Eben Etzebeth for this Saturday’s decider in Cape Town.
The pair will partner at lock for the 31st time, making them the second-most capped Bok lock partnership after Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha (63 Tests together in the engine room).
Speaking to reporters, De Jager admitted the Boks should be wary of Wales’ physicality when it comes to scrums and line-outs.
“Wales have some good plans and they have good line-out forwards in the form of Adam Beard and Will Rowlands,” De Jager said.
“So it’s going to be a big battle. Set-pieces are always massive in Test rugby – line-outs and scrums.
“We’ve tried to improve every single week and I’m sure they are working on this as well.
“So we really need to be good and efficient to have a good Test.”
Aside from the set-pieces, the lock also identified the Boks’ discipline as their downfall.
“The effort in the last two games was good,” De Jager said, adding: “But I think we can be a bit more disciplined and get more scoreboard pressure.
“So, it is small things we have to work on. At the end of the day, we need to be as disciplined as we can be.”
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Commenting on Etzebeth’s milestone, De Jager said: “It’s very special to play Eben’s 100th Test alongside him.
“It is a special occasion for him, but it will be even more special if we can help win the match for him and Bongi.
“For us, this is a final, the series is on the line and Wales feels the same way. We have big games coming up this year and next year as well, so it will be good for us to get used to pressure games such as these.”