De Villiers makes just two changes to Bok squad

2010-07-14 00:00

SPRINGBOK coach Peter de Villiers has remained loyal to his players and made just the two enforced changes to his side for the second Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.

The suspended Bakkies Botha has been replaced by Danie Rossouw at lock, while tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis, nursing a calf strain, has surprisingly been replaced by CJ van der Linde rather than BJ Botha.

The All Blacks will be relieved that De Villiers passed a vote of confidence in the players who were badly exposed in the first Test at Eden Park.

Rossouw, who has been in excellent form all year for the Bulls, was obviously going to start, but the Bok coach could have presented the All Blacks with real lineout problems by fielding the burly utility forward on the flank and including the tall Andries Bekker in the second-row.

This would have provided the Boks with four lineout jumpers in Victor Matfield, Bekker and Rossouw with Pierrre Spies at the tail.

But even more curious is his decision to again field centre Jean de Villiers on the wing when Francois Hougaard has shown excellent form for the Bulls in that position over the past two seasons.

It had been expected that De Villiers would be shifted back into the midfield, replacing Wynand Olivier and partnering Jaque Fourie again. Olivier was one of the most consistent centres in the Super 14, but he has battled to impose himself and play with the same authority at international level.

Jean de Villiers told reporters that he wanted to win back his place in the No. 12 jersey.

“I knew when I went to Munster last year that I risked losing my place and Wynand Olivier had a fantastic Super 14 season. But I hope I do get a chance back in my old position at some stage.”

Jean de Villiers said he had been disappointed with his form at Eden Park, where he admitted he had been “exposed defensively on a couple of occasions”.

The 29-year-old Van der Linde has been playing for Leinster, but has now opted to return to South Africa ahead of the World Cup.

“I haven’t given CJ his rightful chance so far this year,” said De Villiers yesterday, “and I expect a lot from him because the hunger should be there.”

Van der Linde, at 122 kg, is over 12 kg heavier than BJ Botha and is an effective ball-carrier, but the focus will be on his ability to hold up the Bok scrum.

Bok captain John Smit supported Rossouw’s selection as Bakkies Botha’s replacement.

“It helps that Danie played at number four for most of the season for the Bulls and is probably playing his best rugby since 2007.”

The promotion of Rossouw off the bench has opened a spot for Sharks number eight Ryan Kankowski on the reserve bench.

“It’s basically the same team,” said Smit. “When you let yourself down and get badly beaten, you have to go back to the basics that made you a good team in the first place.”

Coach De Villiers is confident the Boks will show an improvement.

“I trust the players. They are much better than what they were last Saturday. They just had a bad game and I expect them to be back to form this weekend,” he said.

The All Blacks, waiting on the fitness of wing Joe Rokocoko (hamstring), scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan (abdominal strain) and lock Tom Donnelly (tight calf), have delayed naming their side.

The Test kicks off at 9.35 am (SA time) on Saturday.

Springbok team: 15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Jean de Villiers, 13-Jaque Fourie, 12-Wynand Olivier, 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morné Steyn, 9-Ricky Januarie, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Francois Louw, 6-Schalk Burger, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Danie Rossouw, 3-CJ van der Linde, 2-John Smit (capt), 1-Gurthrö Steenkamp.

Replacements: 16-Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17-BJ Botha, 18-Andries Bekker, 19-Ryan Kankowski, 20-Ruan Pienaar, 21-Butch James, 22-Gio Aplon.

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