JOHANNESBURG - For Springbok and SA ‘A’ wing Lwazi Mvovo stepping onto the turf at Orlando Stadium on Friday night to face the French Barbarians will be like going deep into enemy territory.
But for Friday night and Friday night only, Mvovo will call Orlando Stadium home and along with his SA ‘A’ teammates as they will be looking at securing a 2-0 series whitewash over their French counterparts.
A passionate Kaizer Chiefs fan, Mvovo, has embraced South African rugby’s venture of playing a rugby match in the township which also happens to be the home of Orlando Pirates, Chiefs’ arch rivals.
However, Mvovo will put aside all his personal feelings especially on the football front and will look to put in another match-winning performance in rugby’s biggest jaunt to Soweto after the 2010 Super Rugby final between the Bulls and Stormers.
Along with fellow Springboks Lionel Mapoe, Francois Venter, Trevor Nyakane, Jano Vermaak and Handre Pollard, Mvovo says the team will be looking at landing the fatal blow against a stubborn French team in the same way they did at Moses Mabhida in Durban last weekend.
“I am a Kaizer Chiefs fan but I am looking forward to playing here,” said Mvovo.
“Everyone is excited in the same way they were about last week when we made history in being the first team to play rugby at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. This week will be no different and the team will be going out to express themselves. All of the guys haven’t played here before but we are very excited and looking forward to the game.”
SA ‘A’ head coach Johan Ackermann echoed Mvovo’s words in seeking a step up in performance from his troops and with an additional week together as a side, Ackermann says they should be better than they were last week.
With the benefit of another week together, Ackermann believes that they will be better with their structure both on attack and defence.
“The reality is that most of the players had gone three weeks without any contact and match sharpness. I do believe we were a bit soft in our ball collision and carries but that comes with match fitness. But out of a structure point of view and preparing the team, the extra three days was helpful. This week Monday was one of our better trainings and we got things going as opposed to last week where we did a lot of planning and explaining to players what it is we want from them,” said Ackermann.
South Africa 'A': Warrick Gelant, Lwazi Mvovo, Lionel Mapoe, Francois Venter (captain), Seabelo Senatla, Fred Zeilinga, Dewaldt Duvenage, Andisa Ntsila, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Chris Cloete, Ruan Botha, Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Ramone Samuels, Ox Nche. Replacements: Franco Marais, Thomas du Toit, Wilco Louw, Uzair Cassiem, Ruan Ackermann, Jano Vermaak, Handre Pollard, Juan de Jongh.
French Barbarians: Julien Dumora, Louis Dupichot, Lucas Dupont, Arnaud Mignardi, Fabrice Estebanez, Frédéric Michalak, Yann Lesgourgues, Marco Tauleigne, Antoine Erbani, Romain Sazy, Alexandre Flanquart, Félix Lambey, Clément Ric, Anthony Etrillard, Khatchik Vartanov. Replacements: Rémi Bonfils, Malik Hamadache, Tommy Raynaud, Arnaud Mela, Anthony Jelonch, Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, Anthony Belleau, Jean-Baptiste Dubie.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Lesego Legoete, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff