herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Hartley sure 'Boks will be in for a battle

ENGLAND hooker Dylan Hartley claims South Africa's forwards now know they are in for a ferocious battle in next weekend's second Test in Johannesburg.

The tourists may have been limited in attack in the series-opening 22-17 loss in Durban on Saturday but Hartley believes they created a strong impression on their opponents.

The 26-year-old said: "I think we put down a statement and I would like to think they will have a bit more respect for us next week. We definitely met the physical challenge. We have shown we can do it, we should have won.

"The way we finished the game is a huge positive - if we hadn't have given away a cheap penalty it could have been a draw - I am definitely confident and the lads are that we can go to Johannesburg next week and win."



Scots wingers miss Fiji clash

Scotland are set to be without both wings who started the victory over Australia when they name their side to face Fiji on Saturday.

Sean Lamont is still suffering from the rib injury that forced him out of that match just before half-time while Joe Ansbro has been ruled out by the badly cut eye he got in a clash of heads celebrating the win.

Fortunately for Andy Robinson, the head coach, who will name his team this evening, there are two immediate and obvious replacements in Tim Visser, who completes his residency qualification period tomorrow and will be available immediately, and Max Evans, who was not released by his French club in time for the first Test.



Rallying call for Welsh back-up

Caretaker coach Rob Howley is hoping a hungry performance from the midweek side can kickstart Wales' tour of Australia.

After the senior side were beaten 27-19 by the Wallabies in the first Test in Brisbane, the back-up players have the chance to prove their credentials tomorrow night as they take on in-form Super Rugby outfit Brumbies.

While many of the chosen XV will have little chance of playing their way into the second Test side next Saturday, Howley is in no doubt about how important their efforts can be.

He said. "Competition for places has been a big ingredient in our performances of late and we have a good blend of experience with youth in the side."

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