Matfield, Bakkies hybrid makes big Springboks splash

RG Snyman goes on the run against England. KIM LUDBROOK/EPA

When you think of a typical South African lock, things like great lineout operator, high work rate, powerful carrying ability and bone-shuddering defence come to mind.

The last thing you think about is a 2m plus player's ability to do all of the above and then be able to put teammates into space with a lovely pass or an offload in the tackle.

But being an enforcer, and having the soft touches of an inside back, are the traits that the latest player out of the Springboks' lock factory brings to the party.

RG Snyman (Rudolph Gerhardus according to his ID book) had a debut to remember last weekend in the first Test against England, playing the full 80 minutes at Ellis Park and showcasing his array of skills in the tight-loose and from broken play.

Potchefstroom-born Snyman used his 2.06m-125kg frame to climb into the English with venom, but also caught the eye when he broke the line and showed a ton of speed to evade defenders.

"When I realised no one was tackling me I just decided to go for it," the 23-year-old said with a smile. "I was giving the two debutant wingers a bit of trouble. I was looking for them but they didn't seem to come. I'll have to slow down for them next time!"

It's probably the reason why one journalist asked him during Wednesday's press conference if he thinks that he would be the end result if the legendary Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha could have a baby.

"I played a bit of flyhalf in primary school so maybe it was a bit of skill development then," Snyman joked.

"That is a tough question [if he is a combination of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha]. It is for you to decide. I just play my game."

For most players, their debuts are normally a bit of a blur, because of the emotion of the occasion. But Snyman -- an Affies graduate and former SA Schools, Junior Springboks and SA A player -- remembers everything, especially the part when the Boks were 24-3 behind after the first quarter.

The Bulls lock expects the second Test to be even tougher, as England look to get back in the series at the Free State Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

"In the first 20 minutes it felt like it was never going to end," Springbok number 906 said of that first 20 minutes. "After that I was happy that we got it together. Duane (Vermeulen) had a talk to us behind the posts and we pulled it through nicely."

"Like us, I think they also learnt from that first Test. They'll come back harder this week. They got to Faf (de Klerk) a bit around the fringes, so there is a bit of work to do for us. With the mauls we have put in a lot of work this week."