’For me personally, there is no fear’ - Malcolm Marx says the Springboks will be ready for Lions tour
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DURBAN - Next Friday the Springboks play their first Test match in 19 months, and while there will no doubt be nerves, Malcolm Marx reckons the Boks will have nothing to fear by the time they face the British & Irish Lions on July 24.
The Boks play Georgia on July 2 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria (7pm kick-off) and a week later they play the same team at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, and that will be the sole rugby the Boks will have played as team since defeating England in the World Cup final.
But Marx says the Boks will be ready.
“For me personally, there is no fear,” he told an online press conference before adding that South African is hardly the only rugby country to be impacted by Covid-19.
“It’s a world pandemic, so we at least have the benefit of doubt.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to play, and that’s something we’ll have to deal with.
“But for me personally, I feel we will be fine.”
Marx, who plays for the Kubota Spears, said the game in Japan is tougher than he had anticipated.
“The game over there is extremely quick — I’m not saying it’s not physical, it’s still a challenge in that department, but just a different type of challenge,” Marx said.
“It’s been really a really good experience.
“I didn’t know what to expect going there after the World Cup. But obviously having been there for the World Cup made it a really rewarding experience.
“It’s a great place to live. I’m learning different things there, so psychologically, it’s been pretty good.”
Marx was joined at the press conference by another Japan-based Bok in Franco Mostert, who echoed Marx’s comments on the status of Japanese rugby.
“The standard of rugby there has gone up a level,” said Mostert, who is at the Honda Heat.
“The World Cup took the game up a notch, and the overseas guys at each club are top-quality players — there are lot of New Zealanders, Tongans and other islanders.”
When Mostert arrived in Bloemfontein in perfect health, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber would have been excused for letting out a cheer, given how South Africa’s leading locks have been cut down by injury.
Of the four World Cup locks, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth have all suffered serious injuries in the last year or so, leaving Mostert the last man standing.
“I’m under no pressure to stay fit,” Mostert smiled.
“RG and Lood are working hard to get back. Eben is okay. So hopefully they will be ready for the warm-up games against Georgia, and we will all be back to keeping each other on our toes.”