England v South Africa: Springboks 'ripe for the taking', says Hennie le Roux

Jean-Luc du Preez of South Africa looks dejected
South Africa came back from 31-19 down to draw with the Barbarians on Saturday
Old Mutual Wealth Series: England v South Africa
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 12 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live with highlights on BBC Two (19:30)

South Africa are "ripe for the taking" when they face England on Saturday, says former Springbok Hennie le Roux.

It is 10 years since South Africa last lost to England but Le Roux feels many factors - including a lack of respect from players towards coaches - have led to a decline in his country's side.

"There's been quite a lot of turmoil in South African rugby," ex-international centre Le Roux told BBC Radio 5 live.

"At this point, England playing at home I think will have the edge."

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South Africa arrived in the northern hemisphere for this year's autumn's internationals having lost five of their past nine matches and needed a late comeback to snatch a 31-31 draw against the Barbarians last Saturday.

In the recent Rugby Championship, they conceded nine tries - seven of them in the second half - in a record 57-15 defeat by New Zealand, a result Le Roux believes exposed the problems inherent in the side.

Hennie le Roux
Hennie le Roux won 27 caps for South Africa between 1993 and 1996

"We accept that a lot of teams have improved greatly but there's a real cause for concern that South African rugby is on a bit of a decline. It's a real issue and needs some serious addressing," said the 49-year-old.

"When I was fortunate to play there, one of the aspects that I experienced was to receive direction from those who were either skilled at coaching or had played at the highest level.

"When they haven't been in that environment, it's almost as if it doesn't carry the same weight.

"I think there's a significant lack of respect towards the South African management team, in terms of having the players' respect and the players acknowledging when they're being spoken to by someone who's informed and has had the experience.

"You have to look at the last Test match in the first half against New Zealand. We should have been leading by 12-5 at half-time. But then to have the complete collapse in the second half with 45 points against you, you have to start posing questions as to where the problem lies.

"Is it the character of the players? Is it in the guidance and support they are receiving or is it something more deeply rooted in the make-up of the team.

"If they are ever ripe for the taking, it is now."

In contrast, Le Roux believes England are flourishing under the guidance of Eddie Jones, who has led his side to a Six Nations win and a series whitewash in Australia since succeeding Stuart Lancaster after last year's disastrous home World Cup campaign.

"I've got a lot of respect for Eddie Jones - as a coach, he is very astute," he added. "There is an example of someone who's walked the walk and understands and that was immediately reflected in England's performances within months of him taking over.

"That's the ability of certain coaches to bring about that change."

Listen to a preview of this weekend's rugby union autumn internationals tonight on BBC Radio 5 live at 21:00 GMT.

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