Is Alberts the Boks' answer to England's power game?

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 13:37

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee believe the selection of veteran loose forward Willem Alberts is key to his team's ability to beat England at the power game.

Coetzee seems determined to fight fire with fire - having named a lock, Pieter-Steph du Toit, at flank and using a blindside flank, Willem Alberts, at openside.

The Bok coach is adamant it is the right combination for the opposition and the expected wet and cold conditions they will face in Saturday's Twickenham, face-off.

Coetzee said he is banking on the 32-year-old Alberts' experience of 40-off Test caps to give the team the 'go-forward' ball they will require.

"He has been to Twickenham before," Coetzee said, when asked about the decision to name Alberts at No.6.

"We have some youngsters out there, that could have done the job, maybe.

"However, you have to make sure you expose players, especially young players, to Test rugby at the right time."

Coetzee felt that because Alberts has "done it before" he is the man for the moment.

"He plays No.7, blindside flank, for his [French] club [Stade Francais] - where they play right and left - so at stages on the field he is openside anyway.

"I feel that is the [forward] combination we need for this weekend.

"This is the best possible side I could have selected for this weekend, a team that could supply us with possession and offer the team go-forward ball.

"In conditions like [we are expecting] Saturday,go-forward will be important," he said of the predictions of a wet and cold Twickenham.

The Bok coach also spoke of winning the battle of the gainline and said his charges will have to dominate the physical exchanged if they are to triumph.

"This game can't be played without any form of physicality or any form of gainline dominance.

"And this pack of forwards suits the way we want to play."

Coetzee said the conditions will ensure the game is won or lost up front.

"It is about territory and you can't get territory if you don't win the set piece battle.

"We need a balance and I am happy about where we are in terms of getting that balance - asking questions with ball in hand and having to turn the opposition with kicks."