England

Boks can 'wing it' at Twickers

Tue, 20 Nov 2012 07:43
Mvovo-bok-training630 Jp-pietersen-boks-training-

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he has 'a few options' he will consider as a possible replacement for the injured veteran JP Pietersen.

The seasoned Bok wing, Pietersen, has a mild groin strain and is doubtful for South Africa's final tour match, against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Although Bok team doctor Craig Roberts refused to rule out the 2007 World Cup winner and 2012 SA Players' Player of the Year, before a full fitness test later in the week, Meyer revealed his alternative options.

Lwazi Mvovo scored a try at Twickenham on his Test debut in 2010, and he appears to be the front-runner for a starting spot if Pietersen does not recover in time.

"That is one area where we are well-covered," Meyer told a media briefing at the team's base in London.

"Lwazi [Mvovo] is there, he has played two Tests before and he can play," the Bok mentor said.

He added that while young Baby Bok Raymond Rhule is there more to "get on tour and use it as a learning curve", the Cheetahs flyer is not out of the picture altogether.

"Lionel Mapoe can play there, although he has played mostly at centre, while Jaco Taute is also an option there, especially with their [England's] kicking game. Again, he [Taute] hasn't played there [on the wing] much and that will be a brave call.

"However, we do have a few options and I am not worried about the cover we have there."

Meyer ruled out the possibility of making too many changes ahead of the Twickenham encounter, saying that continuity is an important factor.

"The All Blacks are in a great position where they can do that [experiment and give players opportunities]," Meyer told the media briefing.

"Their team has been together for eight years and they haven't lost a lot of players.

"The one thing we have struggled the whole year is to get some sort of continuity.

"If you look at the side that last faced England [in June] and this one, it is almost a new team playing them - coming at the end of a long season," Meyer said of the team likely to face England this coming Saturday.

Players missing from the 14-all draw with England, on June 23 in Port Elizabeth, include Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Pierre Spies, Bryan Habana (all injured), Wynand Olivier and Ryan Kankowski (both in Japan).

Throw in Jacques Potgieter and Gio Aplon, who both failed to make the cut for the year-end tour, and there have been substantial changes in the last six months.

"You want to use every Test to give the players confidence and give them a feel of playing over here," Meyer said of those players on tour.

"The positive for me is that in two away games [against Ireland and Scotland] we ground out victories, games we may not have won in the past.

"We made 174 tackles [against Scotland], which is huge at this level," Meyer said of his team's defensive effort - which saw them achieve almost a 90 percent tackle completion rate.

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