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.

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The Springbok team to face Argentina

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Pretoria is:

15. Willie le Roux 15 tests 35 points
14. Cornal Hendricks 3 tests 10 points
13. Damian de Allende 0 tests 0 points
12. Jean de Villiers (captain) 96 tests 125 points
11. Bryan Habana 97 tests 275 points
10. Handré Pollard 1 test 13 points
9. Ruan Pienaar 76 tests 130 points
8. Duane Vermeulen 19 tests 10 points
7. Willem Alberts 32 tests 35 points
6. Francois Louw 30 tests 25 points
5. Lood de Jager 3 tests 10 points
4. Bakkies Botha 79 tests 35 points
3. Jannie du Plessis 54 tests 5 points
2. Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain) 60 tests 45 points
1. Tendai Mtawarira 55 tests 10 points
Replacements:
16. Adriaan Strauss 34 tests 25 points
17. Trevor Nyakane 4 tests 5 points
18. Frans Malherbe 2 tests 0 points
19. Eben Etzebeth 23 tests 0 points
20. Marcell Coetzee16 tests 10 points
21. Francois Hougaard 28 tests 20 points
22. Morné Steyn 56 tests 660 points
23. Jan Serfontein 12 tests 5 points

 

Springbok Squad announced

Uncapped players:

  • Lood de Jager
  • Teboho Mohoje
  • Damian De Allende
  • Cornal Hendricks

Springbok training squad:

Forwards (20): Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Lood de Jager (Cheetahs), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Willem Alberts (Sharks), Jacques du Plessis (Bulls), Teboho Mohoje (Cheetahs), Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), Schalk Burger (Stormers).

Backs (16): Fourie du Preez (Suntory, Japan), Francois Hougaard (Bulls), Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), Marnitz Boshoff (Lions), Jean de Villiers (Stormers), Damian De Allende (Stormers), Jan Serfontein (Bulls), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), S’bura Sithole (Sharks), Frans Steyn (Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Bjorn Basson (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)

Springboks keep core players for France clash (team sheet)

The Springboks have selected a strong team as they look to end 2013 on a high by winning the Teamsheetsfirst battle with France in France in 16 years.

Core Boks over the past 12 months such as Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth and Morné Steyn return to their starting berths after being benched for the 0-28 win over Scotland last week.

Mtawarira, Etzebeth and Steyn form a core of 10 players who have played in all 10 matches this year along with Willie le Roux, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Ruan Pienaar, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss and Pat Lambie who are also included in the squad.

The only change to the team is that Coenie Oosthuizen starts at tight head in place of the injured Frans Malherbe. Uncapped prop Lourens Adriaanse joins as cover on the bench.

“This is a great opportunity for Coenie and we believe he’s ready to make the step up to a starting role in the team, I’m also very happy for Lourens, who has been part of the squad for almost the entire season. He’s waited patiently for an opportunity and what better way to make your debut than against France in Paris. Gurthrö, Adriaan, Bakkies and Pat did very well last week against Scotland and will have an important role to play this week,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“We have been quite fortunate with injuries this year and I’m very happy that we’ve managed to keep the continuity in selection. Most of the players have received ample game time and showed they have what it takes to perform at Test level. Our aim is now to keep on improving against France and hopefully end a very successful season on a high note.” He added.

France vs Springboks, Stade de France Paris, Saturday, KO 21.00 (20.00 GMT; 22.00 SA time)

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South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts , 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi, 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Pat Lambie.

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
Replacements:
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

Bok team to face the Welsh

Experienced backline stars JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie are back in the Springbok team for Saturday’s year-end tour opener against Wales in Cardiff, while Frans Malherbe will make his Test debut at the Millennium Stadium.

In naming his side for Saturday’s Test against the current Six Nations champions, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to hand Fourie his first Test for South Africa since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, while a combination of injury and non-availability means Pietersen is back for his first taste of international rugby this season.

“We’re very fortunate to have two world-class players in JP and Jaque available for selection and I wanted to get then into the action as soon as possible,” said Meyer.

“They bring a vast amount of experience to the team and it was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for Test rugby.”

In the front row, 22-year-old Frans Malherbe comes in for the injured Jannie du Plessis, while the only other change to the pack of forwards is at lock, with Flip van der Merwe starting next to Eben Etzebeth in the middle row.

“Frans has big boots to fill, but he’s been with us for most of 2012 and shown good form since recovering from injury recently and we don’t have any doubts that he has what it takes to make the step up,” said Meyer.

“He’ll have two players with more than 50 Test caps each next to him in the scrum, and his general work-rate across the field and on defence is very good. I’m very happy for Frans.”

A second uncapped player, Pieter-Steph du Toit, could make his Test debut for the Springboks.

The promising lock has been included on the bench for this Test.

“I’ve been following his career for a long time and Pieter-Steph has always impressed me,” said Meyer.

“We first invited him to a training camp last year and he probably would’ve played for South Africa earlier this season had he not gotten injured.

“His inclusion in the squad is just reward for a young player who has successfully made the step up to senior rugby.

“To see Frans and Pieter-Steph make the step up to Test match rugby is wonderful.

“They are two very promising young players and deserve to play for the Springboks, just like we’ve used, with great success, players such as Willie le Roux, Jan Serfontein, JJ Engelbrecht, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth and Trevor Nyakane in the last two seasons.”

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 JJ Engelbrecht, 23 Willie le Roux.

Courtesy of Rugby365.com

Springboks make five changes (team sheet)

Heyneke Meyer has made five changes to his side that will take on the Wallabies in Brisbane this weekend in the first Teamsheetsmatch of their Rugby Championship Australasian tour.

There are three personnel and two positional changes that make up Meyers “horses for courses” match day squad.

–          Hooker Bismarck du Plessis replaces Adriaan Strauss in a rotational switch.

–          Flip van der Merwe starts at lock inplace of Juandre Kruger who drops to the bench.

–          Zane Kirchner starts at no.15 with Willie le Roux shifting to the wing.

–          Brian Habana moves to the left wing and Bjorn Basson who drops out of the squad

“A few of these changes are purely rotational, in order to give guys with fresh legs a go, while others are simply a case of horses for courses, We’re fortunate to be in a position to rotate players of the calibre of Bismarck and Adriaan, while we felt this was the right opportunity to give Flip and Zane a go in the starting team. In the end, the most important factor still remains consistency in selection. In our squad, any player can slot in at any stage, and that is a good position to be in.” Meyer told a media scrum in Brisbane.

Australia vs South Africa, Brisbane, Saturday, KO 20.05 Local (12.05 CAT, 11.05 BST)

MM

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandre Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.