Springbok Team for Tri-Nations Test vs Wallabies
Pieter de Villiers has made 9 changes to the matchday 22 for this Saturday’s uber crispy crunch game against the Wallabies. The Springboks need to win in Brisbane to stand any realistic chance of winning the Tri-Nations and retaining the trophy they so emphatically won last year, seems like ages ago now.
The big change that the entire South African population has been hoping for has finally happened with Ruan Pienaar starting at scrumhalf instead of Ricky McDonald’s Januarie.
When Ruan came onto the field last week, the Bokke played a quicker game and looked far more potent on attack, which is going to be in-valuable when the Bokke play what could be an even faster paced game at Suncorp Stadium. Fancois Hougaard comes in on the bench as cover for scrumhalf and wing.
In the other changes, Ryan Kankowski has been promoted to the starting team in place of Fancois Louw. This is a strange one as Kankowski has played the majority of his rugby at No.8 and is not a natural blindside flank.
I fear PdV may be taking a risk here and is probably hoping Schalk can do the job as a fetcher while Spies and Kankowski are used as runners. Australia, however, have a loose trio who are all skilled at stealing the ball at the breakdown and we may end up struggling in the one department we completely failed at last Saturday. Hopefully Henirich Brossouw makes a speedy recovery from injury as we miss his skillz. Franny boy drops out of the matchday 22, with Dewald Potgieter getting a seat on the bench.
Gio Aplon comes in to replace the suspended and quite poor recently, Jean De Villiers on the right wing. Aplon has made huge (actually small but quick) strides this year and his pace could prove decisive. Also he can catch up and unders, which will be nice.
BJ Botha replaces CJ Van Der Linde, who drops to the bench and he will be tested against the wiles of the returning Benn Robinson, who single-handedly out scrummed John Smit (when playing tighthead) last year. BJ has been plying his trade in the North and has picked up some good experience and some classy dance moves.
The other changes are on the bench, with massive (what do they feed these boys in Pretoria?) Flip Van Der Merwe coming in to replace Andries Bekker and Juan de Jongh coming in as cover for Wynand Olivier.
Not a bad team at all, although I am still not sold on the Kankowski move.