Adriaan Strauss says more to South Africa than brute force


London (AFP)

South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss has insisted his side are not solely reliant on forward power after England coach Eddie Jones suggested the Springboks "never change" ahead of Saturday's clash at Twickenham.

Jones made his remarks on Thursday after unveiling a side the Australian hopes will give England, who've won all nine Tests under his charge, their first victory over South Africa since 2006.

Outspoken former Australia coach Jones, who masterminded Japan's stunning World Cup win over South Africa last year, even went as far to suggest the Springboks regarded rugby union as "chess on steroids".

They certainly boast a heavyweight pack but Springbok skipper Strauss said South Africa, a team Jones helped win the 2007 World Cup as a consultant to then head coach Jake White, wanted to add to their game.

"That's a very interesting statement," said Strauss, set to retire from Test duty at the end of this year, told a news conference at the Springboks' London hotel on Friday.

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

The hooker added: "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."

Saturday's match will be South Africa's first Test since their 57-15 loss to world champions New Zealand in Durban last month, their heaviest home defeat.

South Africa have lost four of their last five Tests, and Strauss said there was not much comfort to be had from a 12-game unbeaten run against England.

"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," he said.

Meanwhile Strauss added South Africa had a wet-weather game up their sleeve if forecast rain fell on Twickenham.

"It might rain, we expect that. We also prepared for that," he 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."