RUGBY FANS must expect another fired-up Springbok side with the likelihood of there being more niggle in the third and final Test against the British and Irish Lions this Saturday.
That is what can be deduced from lock Lood de Jager who spoke to the media on Monday, just days after the fiery second Test in Cape Town, which the Boks won 27-9 to square the series.
Saturday’s match at the same venue will decide who wins the series after the Lions beat the Boks 22-17 in the first Test.
“There was probably a bit more niggle (than usual),” said De Jager about last Saturday’s game. “But that was probably due to the magnitude of the match.
“The Lions were playing for their countries, they’re here in South Africa for a reason, and they’re a proud bunch. If they won the match they’d have won the series.
“For us it was personal too…even bigger than it was for them. If we lost, it was done. That magnitude contributed to the niggle.”
Several “dirty play” incidents had fans talking afterwards, but only Lions prop Kyle Sinckler was cited for biting a Bok player. The result of his hearing will be known on Tuesday.
De Jager said the Bok players making it “personal” last week helped fire them up for the clash, and one can assume there will be more of that this week.
For one thing, the much-vaunted “bomb squad”, which includes De Jager, made a big impact in the second half of the second Test, unlike their tame contribution the week before.
“With six forwards on the bench you want to make an impact, and sustain the energy of the guys who started, and even lift it,” said De Jager.
“We were disappointed what we brought as a bench in the first Test. Maybe it was due to a lack of game time or some rustiness, but we disappointed ourselves, the coaches and the country.
“Last week we decided to make it personal… to play for our country, our people; that fired us up; the bench and the whole team.
“Hopefully this week, with that understanding, we can keep driving the standards and carry the same energy into the weekend. This is a final for us.”
Meanwhile, besides Duane Vermeulen and Jaden Hendrikse who have joined the Bok squad, three other players, namely Rosko Specman, Dan du Preez and Bulls rookie Johan Grobbleaar have also been called up.
Image (Boks scrumming it out against visiting Lions whom they beat last week. They complete the tour this Saturday in Cape Town and current RWC should register their long awaited win of the series).