- Saracens lock tells RFUtv that England will look to dominate France at the lineout
- It will be a big challenge for us to get quality ball for the backs – Botha
Mouritz Botha’s blonde locks are hard to miss on the pitch but it’s his mature performances in the second row that have caught the eye of interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster and see him selected in the starting XV for the fourth match in a row.
The Saracens lock is prepared for a tough battle in the lineout when England face Paris on Saturday with 19-stone Toulouse lock Yoann Maestri winning his fourth cap for Les Bleus.
Following the 17-17 draw with Ireland last weekend, France’s Head Coach Philippe Saint-Andre said his side didn’t play the game in the right areas of the pitch and Botha is prepared for a kicking game that could see a number of lineout contests.
"We have been training hard this week in that area," the 30-year-old told RFUtv. "We know that France pose a big challenge there – they have a lot of good athletes in their lineout. It’s an area, we are certainly looking to take control in that area but it will be a massive challenge.
"It will be a big challenge for us to get quality ball for the backs and get us on the front foot."
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He said he was expecting a competitive battle for lineout ball against France but added: "We have prepared well this week – in defensive lineouts as well. It is an area like every other area in the game we are going to look to try and dominate but France have got a very good set piece and we have prepared well and I am expecting a tough battle up there."
Despite he and his second row partner Geoff Parling having just seven caps between them, Botha believes their experience in the Aviva Premiership and in European Cup competitions will stand them in good stead.
And Botha is enjoying life with the England camp and feels the squad have developed well in the short space of time they have been together.
He added: "It’s been a very enjoyable experience so far. In terms of the squad there is a great dynamic and we have a really great team spirit and we have grown quite close as a group already. The connection that we have got with the public so far has been brilliant and we are really enjoying the feedback and support we are getting."