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Thu Apr 24 16:18:30 SAST 2014

Marcell's role will be critical

SBU MJIKELISO | 08 June, 2012 06:400 Comments
Marcell Coetzee during the South African national rugby team training session at Northwood High School on June 04, 2012 in Durban
Image by: Steve Haag / Gallo Images

THE Super 15's most ferocious tackler, Marcell Coetzee, expects a physical collision in his test debut against England at Kings Park and, frighteningly for the tourists, it is his favourite part of the game.

"I love that contact and physicality part of the game and making those big hits," Coetzee said.

"I just always put myself in positions to make the hit. England base their game on attacking the gain line and so do we," he said.

"So, whoever can win that physical battle and that contact line will come out on top."

Coetzee's ball-carrying, gain-line breaking and hard-tackling style typifies the approach coach Heyneke Meyer wants to employ tomorrow. In the forwards, Meyer has battering rams Willem Alberts, Eben Etzebeth and Pierre Spies to try to knock down a potentially rigid England defensive wall.

Having been preferred ahead of specialist fetcher Heinrich Brussow, Coetzee will be under pressure to operate cunningly at the breakdown.

"The thing about the breakdown contest is we don't want to concede penalties in the international setup because it can cost you at the end of the game," the 21-year-old said.

"Coach Heyneke told me to just play my game and if I can make the steal I should just go for it, but not at the cost of penalties.

"I originally started as a No 8 and a No 7, so I've had that ball-carrying ability to make the hit. Now that I've shifted to No 6 I'm not going to change my game because that is what brought me to where I am."

What northern hemisphere sides have done well in recent times, as was evident in the narrow World Cup pool win over Wales last year, is their disruption of the opposition's breakdown ball - by counter-rucking or slowing the ball down.

Coetzee's mobility will be vital, as will the presence of fellow loose forwards Alberts and Spies, in countering this tactic.

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Marcell's role will be critical

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Thu Apr 24 16:18:31 SAST 2014 ::