Boks to stick to tactical kicking

2010-07-16 00:00

THE All Blacks have been forced to make two changes to their side for the second Tri-Nations Test against the Springboks in Wellington tomorrow.

Wing Joe Rokocoko (hamstring strain) and scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan (abdominal injury) yesterday failed fitness tests. The All Blacks have named the powerful, strong-running Auckland Blues centre Rene Ranger on the wing and he will make his first start for New Zealand.

Piri Weepu is promoted off the bench to replace Cowan at scrumhalf.

Utility back Richard Kahui has been ruled out with a shoulder injury and the dynamic Highlanders’ fullback Israel Dagg, who impressed throughout the Super 14, has been added to the bench.

Both Dagg and Ranger made their debuts for the All Blacks last month.

The Boks were also forced to make two changes with Danie Rossouw, who passed a late fitness test yesterday, taking over from the suspended lock Bakkies Botha, while CJ van der Linde replaces Jannie du Plessis (calf strain) at tighthead prop.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry said yesterday, “We have stuck with the players who played so well in last week’s win at Eden Park and they are ready for what will be another major contest.

“The players know that they will face a different, more physical Springboks side.”

All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith said Ranger will provide a real test for the Boks.

“He could go out and tear them apart,” Smith said of the changes, which have strengthened the All Blacks’ counter-attacking game and will again place the tactical kicking of the Boks under the spotlight.

Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn admitted yesterday that the South Africans are missing injured scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and that this adds to the pressure on him.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers has replaced Du Preez, the premier scrumhalf in world rugby, with Ricky Januarie, who struggles with his tactical kicking.

 “It was difficult without Fourie, especially in terms of our kicking game,” Steyn told reporters. “Fourie sums things up so quickly and makes lots of decisions. But it’s up to me to take on more responsibility, I’ll have more of the kicking on my shoulders now. Our kicks need to be 100% on target.”

Steyn said he also hopes to provide the outside backs with more chances.

“The backs have said this week that we want to move the ball more. We have some of the best outside backs in the world and we need to get the ball in the hands of guys like Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie,” he said.

Vice captain Victor Matfield admitted the All Blacks’ quick throw-ins at line-outs have bothered the Boks.

“We didn’t contest enough. We were too slow to get to the line-outs and we weren’t organised enough. We knew they would use quick line-outs, but we did not stop them.”

Matfield said the Boks will not change their tactical kicking.

“We won’t go away from how we play. We like to put pressure on the opposition and strangle them. But the defensive lines weren’t there after the kicks last Saturday, and you can’t afford to give the All Blacks so much time and space.”

The Test kicks off at 9.35 am tomorrow.

All Black team:

15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Israel Dagg.

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