Tri-Nations Preview: Springboks vs Wallabies – 13 Aug 2011
Played two, lost two. Springbok Rugby in crisis? Not really, although a massive improvement on Saturday is a must. After being comprehensively face smashed in both away games and the South African public getting more and more impatient and anxious as the RWC2011 looms large, only 27 days away. The Bokke need a victory…
a victory is what they neeeed.
As expected Pieter de Villiers and Co. have brought back their ‘A’-team, making a total of 14 changes. Breakdown battle extraordinaire, Heinrich pop-eye arms Brussouw and scrumhalf legend Fourie Du Preez come back into the side for the first time since 2009 and everyone, coaches, players and fans alike will be hoping they can replicate the magic that made them world-class nearly 2 years ago.
John Smit and Danie Russouw are the only players to retain their starting spots, with Gerhard Mostert, Jean Deysel and Morne Steyn on the bench. Gio Aplon starts off the bench after recovering from the injury that kept him out of the last game and was actually one of the few players who played in Australasia who can hold their heads up high.
In other changes, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, the Beeeeast and Pierre Spies all come back into the side, with Gurthro Steenkamp on the bench. This is a power house forward pack chock-a-block full of experience who, rustiness aside, should have the measure of the Wallaby pack at home.
In the backs, Butch yellow-card walking James comes back into the side along with the record holding centre pairing of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie. On the wings Bryan 9 lives Habana is back, as is JP Pietersen, who showed some fantastic form in Supe Rugby this season. Lastly, we have Frans Steyn back at fullback, all the way from Racing Metro. ‘Bon Jour’ donkey boot, good to have you back.
The Wallabies are a far more settled, game hardened side and Robbie Deans has made just two changes to the starting team with experienced Nathan Sharpe and form Reds flank, David Higginbotham coming back in.
The Wallabies are coming off an away loss to the All Blacks where they were well beaten by a quality side, who look to be firm favourites for the RWC (again). The Aussies did however score two good tries towards the end of the game and after a last-minute victory, courtesy of a Kurtley Tache Beale penalty kick last year, will know that they have the ability to beat this experienced Bok side.
The Wallabies have a very good recent record against the Bokke and the Reds team in particular had the measure of the SA sides in this year’s Supe Rugby match ups. They will be keen to get back to winning ways and will know that a win here on Saturday will be massive for their confidence and even put them in with an outside chance of winning the Tri-Nations.
Who knows how rusty the Bokke will be?
Very. They have all played together before and have had a few good weeks rest recently. Their defense can only get better and it will be interesting to see what impact Rassie Erasmus has made on the squad. If the Bokke can withstand the early pressure, they should be able to hang on and claim a victory which should at least appease the masses. For a week at least.
Venue: King’s Park, Durban
Kick-Off: Sat, 5:05pm
Prediction: Bokke by 7-12