Naivalu to terrorise 'tiring' Boks

Sat, 01 Oct 2016 00:30
Large sefa naivalu serious 800

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

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 17 March 2018
Italy v Scotland 12h30 Rome
Stormers v Blues 13h05 Newlands
England v Ireland 14h45 Twickenham Stadium
Lions v Sunwolves 15h15 Johannesburg
Wales v France 17h00 Cardiff
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 05h05 Sydney
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Sat, 17 March 2018
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Lions v Blues 35 | 38
Ireland v Scotland 28 | 8
Sharks v Sunwolves 50 | 22
Reds v Bulls 20 | 14
Hurricanes v Crusaders 29 | 19
Fri, 09 March 2018
Scarlets v Leinster 10 | 10
Rebels v Brumbies 33 | 10
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0