Pollard only change for Springboks (team sheet)

Handre Pollard replaces Morne Steyn as the only change to the South African side that went down by a single pint to Australia last week in Perth. The axe falls on Steyn because his penalty kick did not make touch which allowed the Aussies to run in a last minute try and squeak home by a single point in a match where both teams looked distinctly average.

More surprisingly is the omission of Bok hard-man Bismark Du Plessis. The much looser Adriaan Strauss retains his place, despite not producing any thing of great substance last week. No doubt Du Plessis will be utilised early in the second half against New Zealand, even though he is generally not seen as an impact player.

South Africa – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Damian de Allende.


Few changes to Springboks for Scotland scrap (team sheet)

Heyneke Meyer has erred on the side of caution for the Boks ‘easiest’ game of their Northern hemisphere side. Many expected wholesale changes, especially a rest for over-worked captain Jean de Villiers. But in the cut-throat game of professional coaching losing is just not on the cards.

We saw it (lack of rotation) with 4 out of the 5 South African Super Rugby coaches, and players suffered because of it. Stormers, who are arguably South Africa’s strongest side, didn’t even make the playoffs this year and the Bulls fell flat when it was needed most in their home semi against the Brumbies.

There are some changes however, and this must be applauded.

“We said from the start of the tour that we were going to make a few changes for this Test,” said Meyer.

“We need to keep players fresh and motivated. Willie and Pat both did well after we lost Morné last weekend and deserve another opportunity on Sunday.

“Gurthro and Adriaan, who will take over the vice-captaincy as well, have been part of the squad for a long time and will slot in easily. Furthermore, it has been great to have Bakkies back. His enthusiasm has been contagious and the younger guys have already learned a lot from spending time with him.

“We got our tour off to a good start last week against Wales in Cardiff and the focus this week has been on further improvement in a number of key areas of the game, most notably our discipline. In the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, we conceded the fewest penalties, but last week against Wales we were penalised too much. It’s something that is very important to us and we are working very hard on our discipline.”

The Springbok team to face Scotland in Edinburgh is:

15. Willie le Roux 10 caps 15 points
14. JP Pietersen 49 caps 70 points
13. Jaque Fourie 70 caps 160 points
12. Jean de Villiers (captain) 94 caps 125 points
11. Bryan Habana 93 caps 265 points
10. Pat Lambie 30 caps 57 points
9. Fourie du Preez 66 caps 75 points
8. Duane Vermeulen 14 caps 5 points
7. Willem Alberts 28 caps 30 points/Siya Kolisi 9 caps 0 points
6. Francois Louw 26 caps 25 points
5. Flip van der Merwe 32 caps 5 points
4. Bakkies Botha 76 caps 35 points
3. Frans Malberhe 1 caps 0 points
2. Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain) 31 caps 25 points
1. Gurthro Steenkamp 47 caps 30 points
16. Bismarck du Plessis 55 caps 45 points
17. Tendai Mtawarira 51 caps 10 points
18. Coenie Oosthuizen 12 caps 5 points
19. Eben Etzebeth 22 caps 0 points
20. Marcell Coetzee 14 caps 5 points
21. Ruan Pienaar 72 caps 130 points
22. Morné Steyn 52 caps 627 points/AN Other
23. JJ Engelbrecht 11 caps 20 points

Springbok team for Rugby Championship opener announced

Match preview to follow…

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Soweto is:

15. Willie le Roux GWK Griquas 3 caps
14 Bryan Habana Toulon, France 86 caps
13 JJ Engelbrecht Vodacom Blue Bulls 4 caps
12 Jean de Villiers DHL Western Province (captain) 87 caps
11 Bjorn Basson Vodacom Blue Bulls 9 caps
10 Morné Steyn Stade Francais, France 45 caps
9 Ruan Pienaar Ulster, N.Ireland 66 caps
8 Duane Vermeulen DHL Western Province 7 caps
7 Willem Alberts The Sharks 21 caps
6 Francois Louw Bath, England 19 caps
5 Juandré Kruger Racing Metro, France 11 caps
4 Eben Etzebeth DHL Western Province 14 caps
3 Jannie du Plessis The Sharks 45 caps
2 Adriaan Strauss Toyota FS Cheetahs 24 caps
1 Tendai Mtawarira The Sharks 44 caps
16 Bismarck du Plessis The Sharks 48 caps
17 Gurthrö Steenkamp Toulouse, France 40 caps
18 Coenie Oosthuizen Toyota FS Cheetahs 4 caps
19 Flip van der Merwe Vodacom Blue Bulls 26 caps
20 Siya Kolisi DHL Western Province 2 caps
21 Fourie du Preez Suntory Sungoliath, Japan 62 caps
22 Pat Lambie The Sharks 23 caps
23 Jan Serfontein Vodacom Blue Bulls 3 caps