JOHANNESBURG AFP - South Africa will be better prepared and have an altitude advantage when they seek a series-clinching second Test win over England at Ellis Park tonight.
Super Rugby commitments meant new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer had only six days with his squad before the first game last weekend, which the green and gold won 22-17 in Indian Ocean city Durban.
After playing in familiar sea-level conditions, England must adjust to the 1800-metre venue where South Africa won the World Cup for the first time in front of Nelson Mandela 17 years ago.
The lack of time together showed as South Africa improved on a poor first half performance to score two tries and then keep England at bay when the tourists belatedly exhibited some adventure.
“This team is not even five per cent toward where I want them to be,” was the blunt assessment of Meyer this week as Johannesburg experienced a typical winter weather combination of cool, sunny days and cold nights.
“You can see the squad is much more relaxed this week and the training sessions have been sharper.
“However, we have to lift our intensity because England will improve from the first Test.”
A Super 14 and Currie Cup winner with Northern Bulls, Meyer advocates continuity and the only change from the Durban starting line-up was enforced with Patrick Lambie replacing injured Zane Kirchner at fullback.
Lambie came on at halftime in Durban and Meyer praised his performance while admitting there was room for improvement in the tactical kicking of the exciting 21-year-old Coastal Shark.