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SA Rugby Boss says Boks must dig deep

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South African rugby chief Oregan Hoskins warned Thursday that the British and Irish Lions pose a huge threat in a three-Test series against the Springboks.


The showdown between the world champions and the cream of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales talent begins Saturday in the Indian Ocean city Durban and continues the following two weekends in Pretoria and Johannesburg.


Hoskins said in a statement that the Lions would pose an enormous physical challenge as they seek a second consecutive series triumph in South Africa having won 2-1 in 1997.


“There is no doubt that our players are going to be required to put their bodies on the line and that no quarter will be asked or given in this series,” said Hoskins.


“A Test series against the Lions will require them to dig deep into the physical and mental reserves, but I know they are ready for the challenge. They have to be.


“This Lions series will be a battle for centimetres and for every point, but I have every confidence that Peter (de Villiers), John (Smit) and the squad can deliver the result we all desire.”


Hoskins had special praise for De Villiers, who became the first black Bok coach when he succeeded Jake White after South Africa won the 2007 Rugby World Cup with a 15-6 victory over England in Paris.


“It is a remarkable fact that the squad is happier now than it was during the Rugby World Cup, which is testimony to the management and coaching skills of Peter de Villiers.


“An outstanding squad has been developed with the phased introduction of exciting talent as Peter managed our resources brilliantly.”

 

“He also answered the doubters by adding a new dimension to the way the Boks have played.”

Some South African critics doubted whether De Villiers had the experience and ability for the position and just two victories in six 2008 TriNations matches against Australia and New Zealand added fuel to the fire.

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