Rugby: Adriaan Strauss refuses to respond to Eddie Jones' 'chess on steroids' jibe

Adriaan Strauss of South Africa tackled by Dean Mumm of Australia. Photo / Photosport
Adriaan Strauss of South Africa tackled by Dean Mumm of Australia. Photo / Photosport

South Africa were given a chance to get to grips with the conditions at Twickenham Stadium on Friday as they trained on the flawless pitch ahead of Saturday's Test against England.

The Springboks have already played once since arriving in England - a 31-31 draw with Barbarians - but the game took place at Wembley Stadium as Twickenham ground staff undid any damage caused by last month's NFL tie.

But head coach Allister Coetzee was able to run his side through some light training drills in the famous 82,000-seater arena a mere 24 hours before the game is due to kick off in front of a capacity crowd.

Captain Adriaan Strauss, meanwhile, insists his team will not be distracted by Eddie Jones' jibe that they only know one way of playing.

Jones stirred the pot in a recent press conference when he claimed England's upcoming opponents 'never change' before describing their physical approach as like 'chess on steroids'.

South Africa have certainly picked a gargantuan line-up. Forward trio Pieter-Steph du Toit, Willem Alberts and Lood de Jager alone will be carrying 55 stone between them.

Strauss, however, refused to rise to Jones' comments.

'That's a very interesting statement,' said Strauss, who will retire from Test rugby at the end of the year.

'We are moving towards a style we do want to play. We know we're not there yet.

'This is another opportunity to take a step closer. We do want to play a physical game - it's in South Africa's DNA and it's our brand of rugby.

'We also want to adapt and grow as a team. We've been doing that this year. We haven't executed it that well but we are growing as a team.

'I don't know, I haven't read and heard everything he (Jones) said but we know what we want to do so that's where the focus is. We won't get swept up by comments from our opposition.'

This will be South Africa's first Test since their 57-15 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand, the team's heaviest-ever defeat on home soil.

The result provided a suitably miserable end to a disappointing Rugby Championship that included a surprise loss to Argentina and only two wins from six overall.

The Springboks have reason to be more confident in south London, however, having not lost to England in 12 matches, a sequence that stretches back to 2006. Will that record play a part on Saturday?

'Not at all,' Strauss said. 'Over the last couple of years we have gained a bit of confidence overseas playing in the northern hemisphere but it's a new chapter, it's not going to help us on the day.'

The visitors' physical tactics may, however, be aided by the conditions, with heavy rain expected this weekend.

'It might rain, we expect that. We also prepared for that,' Strauss said.

'We've got a plan for when it does rain. We don't want to vary too much but you have to be wary if you play with a slippery ball on the day.

'Both teams are well equipped to play with a wet ball. The English have a great kicking game, they maul quite well and they have a physical pack.

'They are a good defensive squad so both teams can play well in wet weather.'

- Daily Mail

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