Highlights: Springboks vs Wallabies [video]

Springboks vs Wallabies at Newlands 28 September 2013

SGR Highlights

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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)

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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.

Wallabies select Beale at no.10 to face the Boks

Robbie Deans has shaken things up in his team selection ahead of the Rugby Championship match in Pretoria this weekend by selecting Kurtley Beale at fly half for the match.

Deans may be drawing inspiration from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer who has also taken a chance by selecting a new starting fly half in the form of Johann Goosen for the game on Saturday. One would think that veteran fly half Berrick Barnes would be chosen to steady the ship after the injury to Quade Cooper has left Deans’ team thin in the no.10 position, but after a couple of average performances at pivot, the coach seems to be happy to take a chance on live wire Kurtley Beale running the show.

It will be very interesting to see how he fairs there as he has not played in this position regularly in a long time. At both the Waratahs and the Rebels his coaches has kept him at full back because of his ability to counter attack and his immense threat when presented with open space to run.

The only other change to the team come on the bench where lock Rob Simmons is promoted to the Bench which has a 5-2 split forwards and backs. Journeyman scrum half Brett Sheehan is recalled and Anthony Fainga’a gets another chance as a super sub.

Wallabie legend Nathan Sharpe is set to make his 110 appearance for Australia and in doing so replacing George Smith as the countries most capped forward.

The Waratahs prop Ben Robinson will become the 36th player to be capped by the Wallabies in 50 test matches when he starts on Saturday.

The Wallabies face the Springboks at Loftus on Saturday, KO 17:00 CAT (16:00 GMT)

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Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Dominic Shipperley, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Anthony Fainga’a.

Berrick Barnes defends woeful Steyn

If any backline player knows what Morne Steyn is going through it must be Australian utility back Berrick Barnes. Once touted as the next Stephen Lakham, he has struggled to produce consistent performances due to a string of injuries including serious concussion that has put his career in danger.

However the resurgent Wallaby has backed Morne Steyn in a press conference earlier today saying that he believes the stammering Bok flyhalf will recover.

“I have a lot of respect for Morne and I’ve played against him for six to seven years now and probably three or four at Test level…There are few players who come through in the clutch for you like him. He is one of them and he’s done that for a number of years.” Said Barnes

Barnes knows what its like to be under fire for the up and down performances he has produced which have prevented him from cementing a role in the Wallaby back line, but he believes that this is just a part of sport: “Just because you have one poor outing with the boot, we’ve all been there, and I’ve had my fair share as well,” he said.

Bok Coach Heyneke Meyer is under massive preasure from his blood thirsty countrymen who expect nothing less than a solid victory against the second placed Wallabies on Saturday.
The fan favourite, 20 year old Johann Goosen, could be in line for a surprise call up and Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies has also earned a call up to the squad for his superb Currie Cup season.

Could Steyn be dropped from match day Squad all together? Find out here later on when the team is announced!

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Frans Steyn recovering well

Springbok coach Heyeke Meyer will be pleased to see that his star center Frans Steyn is recovering well from right ankle injury.

The big centre was on crutches on Monday at practicebut after x-rays last night the team doctor has given him the go ahead to attend training on Wednesday.

“The x-rays were clear and the swelling has settled nicely. We’re hoping to get him to do some training on Wednesday,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

Steyn injured his ankle during a team warm up on Monday and has been side-lined since then, fans will be hopeful that the powerful runner will recover sufficiently to start the match against the Ausies on Saturday.

Other injury concerns in the squad include; lock Flip van der Merwe (calf), flank Jacques Potgieter (groin) and wing Lwazi Mvovo (hamstring). They will be tested for fitness later in the week.

However three other players that were absent from training on Monday; props Tendai Mtawarira (stomach bug) and Coenie Oosthuizen (muscle stiffness) and flyhalf Johan Goosen, all made appearances on the practice field earlier today.

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Boks to be without Steyn for Aussie clash?

Springbok center Frans Steyn has sustained an ankle injury that could keep him out of the crunch match with Australia this weekend at Loftus.

Steyn has been a potent player on attack and one of the stand out player for the Boks in 2012, but he was seen walking out of training on crutches earlier today which leads us to believe that he will not be available in 6 days’ time.

His injury could open the door to a surprise start for uncapped Lions utility back Jaco Taute who has been included in the squad for the remaining two Rugby Championship matches. However a more conservative option would be shifting captain Jean de Villiers back to inside centre and start his WP and Stormers partner Juan de Jonge at no.13.

Other injury concerns after practice today include Coenie Oosthuizen (general stiffness), Jacques Potgeiter (mild groin strain), Flip van der Merwe (mild calf strain). Johan Goosen (bruised heel) and Lwazi Mvovo (tight hamstring).

The Boks take on the Wallabies at Loftus on Saturday, KO 17:00 CAT (16:00 GMT)

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Springbok Lock cited for headbutt – dejavu?

He is touted at the next “Enforcer” the next generations Bakkies Botha for his size, skill and physicality. However after a moment of absolute stupidity, rising star Eben Etzebeth has truly followed in Bakkies extra-large footsteps by getting himself cited for a head butt on Nathan Sharpe.

The incident happened during the Boks 19-26 loss to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday and the SANZAR judicial officers Mike Heron and Nigel Hampton will preside over the hearing. Etzebeth is alleged to have broken law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking when he made contact with Nathan Sharps head during an exchange of handbags in the 25th minute of the game.

Ironically, Bakkies Botha has now been put on stand by for a Springbok call up if the young lock is found guilty. Botha who retired from Springbok rugby after last years world cup in New Zealand has been showing some good form in while playing in France this year.

The Boks now travel to New Zealand to face the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday and will be hoping that Etzebeth will be able to wiggle his way out of the charge before they travel back to SA for their final two tests of the competition against Australia and New Zealand. However if found guilty he could very well miss out on the remainder of the international season.

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