Springbok Team Announced

Aug 17 • General News, International • 1676 Views • Comments Off on Springbok Team Announced

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Morne Steyn

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers included Bulls scrumhalf Francois Hougaard in the starting team for Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks at FNB Stadium in Soweto, and also made a number of changes from the side that lost to Australia nearly four weeks ago.

Hougaard gets his first start after two Test appearances as a replacement.

“He has a strong head and a good rugby brain and we’re looking for someone to bring something extra to the team,” said de Villiers. “I’m excited to see him trying to cement his place in the starting team.” Another surprise in their starting side was the inclusion of lock Flip van der Merwe, who comes in for Danie Rossouw – arguably the best Springbok forward on their three-match losing streak in Australasia earlier in the competition.

De Villiers conceded Van der Merwe’s start was because of the uncertainty regarding Rossouw’s hip-flexor injury.

“I just want to get my mind clear that we have a good start. He (Rossouw) was able to start, but I think it was the right decision.”

The coach also defended his selection of the new loose trio without a fetcher, and pointed out that this was necessitated by the injury to Heinrich Brussow. Juan Smith, who was unavailable because of personal reasons and injury, returns to form the trio with No 8 Pierre Spies and open side flanker Schalk Burger.

In the absence of Frans Steyn who is injured and still overseas, Gio Aplon replaces Zane Kirchner who was injured last weekend. JP Pietersen also returns from injury to start on the right wing with Jean de Villiers, who was suspended for the previous match against the Wallabies, returning at inside centre to partner Juan de Jongh at the expense of Wynand Olivier.

“We’re looking forward to the match,” said vice-captain Victor Matfield at the team announcement. He said that it would be a massive occasion before “the biggest crowd we have played in front of.”

The occasion was perfectly set up for the 100th Test by captain John Smit, said Matfield, but they will be focusing on the game first and foremost.

“I think it’s a great achievement for John, who is a guy everyone in SA looks up to. John would like to focus on the game and win it, then we can enjoy it afterwards which will make the occasion even more special for him”.

De Villiers said he was very pleased with the focus of the players. Although the World Cup remained a long term goal, “we are focussing on this game only and hope we can turn the tables”.

For that to happen, Matfield said, the Boks will have to be at their very best after playing to about “only about 70% of our potential” on the away leg of the Tri-Nations series.
Kick-off is at 17:00.

Teams:

Springboks:

15. Gio Aplon, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Morne Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Juan Smith, 6. Schalk Burger, 5. Victor Matfield, 4. Flip van der Merwe, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. John Smit, 1. Gurthro Steenkamp

Substitutes: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Danie Rossouw, 19. Francois Louw, 20. Ricky Januarie, 21. Butch James, 22. Wynand Olivier

All Blacks:

15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Josevata Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Israel Dagg

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

[SAPA]

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