Springbok captain Victor Matfield is confident that new lock partner Andries Bekker can fill the boots of the injured Bakkies Botha in Saturday’s crunch Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks at Newlands.
Ashfak Mohamed reports for IOL.
Botha has been ruled out of the rest of the Tri-Nations with a knee ligament injury. His “enforcer” role, in which he imposes himself physically on the opposition, is viewed as a vital part of the Bok second row make-up.
Botha’s robustness complements Matfield’s running and handling skills, not to mention his lineout prowess.
With Botha out, there have been question marks around whether Bekker can fulfil the role that Botha plays. Bekker is known for his ability to jump in the lineouts, with his 2.08m, 120kg frame proving invaluable.
But Matfield said this week that Bekker would deliver on Saturday. “I think it is going to be great to have Andries there,” he said. “I think he is very good at lineout time and also the way he has been playing. Every time he has come on, he has really used the chances that he has received. He was again brilliant against Argentina. So it is great for him to get a chance.”
Matfield admits that he will miss his regular second row partner. The Bulls duo have locked the Bok scrum a record 42 times, including last week’s comprehensive victory over Argentina.
But the Bok skipper wants Bekker to put his own stamp on the game. “We will definitely miss Bakkies. But I really think it is a great chance for Andries to step in and show what he can do, especially against a team like New Zealand,” said Matfield.
Bekker showed against Argentina and on the Tri-Nations tour that he is capable of “roughing it” with the best. The Stormers star was also superb in this year’s Super 14.Tweet