South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is expecting that England will give his side plenty to think about when the two teams meet in this summer’s three-Test series.
The former Leicester Tigers chief has been in charge of the Springboks since January, when he succeeded Pieter de Villiers, and admits he was impressed by England’s performances in the Six Nations – when they won four of their five matches and recorded some fantastic live scores only being beaten by Grand Slam winners Wales.
“There’s a lot of respect for England,” he said.
“They started slowly at the Six Nations, but grew stronger and stronger during the tournament.
“England will be a great challenge. They have done brilliantly after the World Cup and I’ve been impressed with the way they fought back and the character they showed.
“You don’t beat France away from home if you’re not a great side.”
Meyer will be without experienced duo Schalk Burger and Juan Smith, who are currently injured, while former captain Victor Matfield will also not feature in the first Test in Durban on 9th June, the second Test in Johannesburg seven days later and the final clash in Port Elizabeth on 23rd June.
Meyer could use World Cup-winning scrum-half Fourie du Preez, who is currently playing for Japan champions Suntory Sungoliath but recently said that he would be available for this summer’s Tests if needed.
In last year’s World Cup, sports betting predictions were reversed, as South Africa were beaten 11-9 in the quarter-finals by Australia. Earlier in the tournament they had come through the pool stage by beating Wales, Fiji, Namibia and Samoa.