Louw out to torment England

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iol spt nov21 Francois Louw Independent Newspapers Springbok flank Francois Louws all-round skills are proving a major headache for the northern hemisphere sides. Picture: Etienne Rothbart.

Last weekend it was Australian openside Michael Hooper who caused all sorts of problems for England and now South Africa’s Francois Louw is preparing to torment England captain Chris Robshaw and his teammates this weekend.

And to make things worse for the English, they still have to face the All Blacks and Richie McCaw, next weekend.

England’s inability to keep Hooper in check has been provided as one of the reasons why England lost to Australia last Saturday and it is one of the reasons why they’re really worried about Louw’s influence on the game this weekend.

The “Flo-factor” has been massive for the Boks on this European tour, the Bath-based player made a huge impact against Ireland and again at the weekend in the win against Scotland.

After the Ireland game, Bok skipper Jean de Villiers called Louw’s contribution “outstanding” ... but he wasn’t only referring to the 27-year-old’s showing in Dublin, but ever since coming into the side against Argentina earlier this season.

Louw has certainly been one of the key men for the Boks in the last number of Tests and his reputation has just been enhanced in Ireland and the UK.

“He’s been brilliant for us in every game,” said coach Heyneke Meyer after the Scotland game. “He’s right up there with the best in the world.

“What makes him so good is that he doesn’t only win ball on the ground, he carries the ball strongly and hits guys backwards in the tackle.”

And yesterday, Bok defence coach John McFarland also heaped praise on the Bath captain, a man who at the start of the international season wasn’t deemed good enough for the Boks but is now one of the key forwards.

“Flo has added something massive to our game... he’s got an ability to make turn-overs and also tackles guys hard. The thing with him is you get everything – he’s got the size and he’s got the mix right in his game.”

McFarland, though, felt the combination of Louw, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen was a big boost for the Boks.

“They really work well as a unit, don’t they? You’ve got Flo who does everything, then there’s Willem who takes guys backwards every time he gets his hands on the ball and Duane reads the game so well.

“Then, we can also call on Marcell (Coetzee) and he’s just got such a massive work-rate. There really is a very nice balance to the loose-trio,” said McFarland.

The trio will face their sternest test this weekend, with England’s powerful midfield runners likely to target the channels around the slightly-built Pat Lambie. Defensively they’re going to have to stand tall, more than at any other time on this tour.

“All the northern hemisphere sides play similarly, but with England you get those big, strong ball carriers in midfield, Tuilagi and Barritt (and probably Joseph).

“We’re going to have to stop their momentum and go-forward if we’re to have a chance,” added McFarland.

The former Bulls man said he was really pleased with the way the Boks have defended in recent matches. They conceded no tries against Ireland and let in just one against Scotland.

“What’s impressed me is that we’re dominating the collisions, we’ve improved that part of our game since the Rugby Championship and that’s pleasing.

“We’re nice and physical in that area and, also, everyone is now on the same page regarding where we want to go defensively.”


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