Our wingers are just as dangerous as Louis Rees-Zammit, says Mzwandile Stick
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CAPE TOWN – Louis Rees-Zammit can punish you, but our wingers are just as dangerous.
That was the word from Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick as the South Africa ‘A’ side prepare to face the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 8pm).
Speaking during a virtual press conference on Tueday, Stick and captain Lukhanyo Am fronted the media, discussing various matters – from the violent lootings in the country to the much-anticipated run-out against the tourists.
Until now, fans have seen more from the Lions given they’ve played three friendlies in South Africa already and one against Japan, while the South Africans have only managed one game against Georgia as positive Covid tests were presented in both camps in the build-up to the second scheduled Test against the Lelos.
And one thing that came up during the media briefing was the Lions' wingers.
South African-born Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe was massive against the Sharks again in their second warm-up against the Durbanites. Try-scoring machine Josh Adams is a sure starter come the Series. Anthony Watson is pure quality. And then there is the youngest player in the tourists’ squad – Louis Rees-Zammit. He got a special mention during a presser…and not just because he’s been named in the run-on side for Wednesday's clash.
The 20-year-old sensation has been a massive over the last two years, and he’ll be keen to offer real competition to his more senior competitors.
When asked about the threat he can pose, Stick said: “Looking at a guy like Rees-Zammit…he is really quick. He’s doing well at the moment. They have had some good warm-up games and he scored some good tries. If you give him space, he will punish you, we know that.”
The Boks, of course, have the world’s best player in their arsenal: Cheslin Kolbe, while fellow World Cup-winner Sbu Nkosi is also in the starting line-up.
“The level we’re playing at is called Test rugby, and you will be tested. I can’t answer for Sbu (Nkosi, and what he makes of his speedy opponents), but I know one thing – he will be ready for the game. I’m looking forward to seeing Sbu goes, we all know how he is. And then there is Cheslin Kolbe, what he looks like at the moment…there is nothing he can’t do.”
SA ’A’: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 S’bu Nkosi, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Japser Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Damian Willemse, 24 Kwagga Smith, 25 Elton Jantjies.
Lions team: 15. Anthony Watson 14. Louis Rees-Zammit 13. Chris Harris 12. Bundee Aki 11. Josh Adams 10. Dan Biggar 9. Conor Murray 8. Taulupe Faletau 7. Tom Curry 6. Josh Navidi 5. Iain Henderson 4. Maro Itoje 3. Kyle Sinckler 2. Ken Owens 1. Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Tadhg Beirne, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Elliot Daly