De Jager: It’s a big challenge

Date published: October 1 2015

Springbok lock Lood de Jager is expecting a much tougher challenge from Scotland on Saturday than he experienced on his debut against them in 2014.

The Scots travelled to a hostile Port Elizabeth last year, where de Jager made his international debut in a 55-6 drubbing. The new Springbok also crashed over for two tries in an impressive performance.

Nonetheless, de Jager is not expecting a repeat result, as World Cup's tend to bring out the best in the players.

"They're a much better team I feel than last year when we played them so it's going to be a big challenge for us," said the 22-year-old.

"We're up for it, as will they…it's going to be a good one. It's a World Cup, everybody is more motivated."

With stalwart Victor Matfield injured, de Jager will start alongside Stormers beanpole Eben Etzebeth.

However, with two of Scotland's charges – namely loose forward Josh Strauss and front rower WP Nel – having attended Springbok training camps, de Jager revealed that there will be some tweaks in the line-out calls.

"It's not massive changes," added the Cheetahs lock.

"It's just one or two things we've changed because WP Nel and Josh Strauss have been in Springbok camps and they know our calls. Nothing major. Our calls are in Afrikaans. That's a benefit to us, so we'll keep it that way."

Meanwhile, fellow forward Willem Alberts should get his first taste of the 2015 Rugby World Cup from the bench. 

The mammoth loose forward heaped praise on first time captain Fourie du Preez, from whom he will receive plenty instruction on the field.  

"Fourie is a very intelligent player, the best rugby player in South Africa," said the Sharks player.

"He's a very quiet person but when he speaks you make sure you listen because it's very valuable information that he passes on. He makes the right decisions when you play behind him. That makes it easy for the forwards just to do what he says."

South Africa face Scotland on Saturday afternoon in front of what is sure to be a packed house at St. James' Park in Newcastle.