Naivalu to terrorise 'tiring' Boks
INTERVIEW: Melbourne Rebels' Fijian-born wing Sefa Naivalu could play a vital role for the Wallabies in the latter stages of their game against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Josh Isaacson reports.
Naivalu is set to make his debut this weekend after he was named on the Wallabies' bench for the Round Five Rugby Championship encounter and fellow Wallaby wing Reece Hodge believes he could give the Boks a few problems late on when there are few tired legs running around.
"There's high class wings all throughout the squad now and it has been since June," Hodge told reporters in Johannesburg.
"I think we've seen through training this week the pace that he [Naivalu] has got and against tiring forwards he would be a really good weapon for us."
Hodge could also play a key role for his team against the Boks. The 22-year-old showed during Super Rugby that he is a lethal goal-kicker from distance and at altitude in Pretoria he could prove to be a valuable asset for the Wallabies.
"Depending on how the game suits the situation in terms of that, obviously it's something that we've got to have in the back of our minds. But we want to score tries first and foremost," Hodge added.
Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee has opted for Morne Steyn as his starting No.10 for the encounter and while it might not be a popular choice for many home fans, Hodge and his teammates are still wary of the veteran's match-winning abilities.
"I think all the 10s that we've been analysing have all got good parts to their game and they all very skilful.
"Whether it was [Elton] Jantjies, [Patrick] Lambie or [Morne] Steyn, I think we always going to expect a strong kicking game, good running game and obviously strong in defence as well, so we’ve got to be ready for everything," said Hodge.
Commenting on Patrick Lambie's inclusion in the Springboks starting team, Hodge added that he expects the fullback to be at his very best on Saturday.
"Lambie's been out for a few months [concussion injury], but I don't think his going to miss a beat when he comes back in.
"His been playing great footie throughout Super Rugby leading into the Ireland game [Springboks lost 20-26 in June], so [we are] expecting the best from him," explained Hodge.
By Josh Isaacson