Johann Muller declares himself fit for Aussie Clash

2011-07-14 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The man who captained South Africa’s “B-team” alongside Bob Skinstad in 2007 has declared himself fit for the challenge of facing the Wallabies again under similar circumstances in Sydney.

“Old age is beginning to take its toll,” the 31-year-old Johann Muller said jokingly after watching his team-mates sweat it out in training from the sidelines at Hyde Park High.

“I suffered a slight hamstring strain last Friday and hopefully I will be able to start training again tomorrow [Thursday]. I will definitely be fit for the Test against Australia,” he said.

If Muller is true to his word he may well be paired with Bulls enforcer Flip van der Merwe at lock against the Wallabies on July 23.

With John Smit going on tour, it’s unlikely that Muller will again have the opportunity of captaining the Boks as he did in 2007.

However, he and Smit get along very well and Muller will no doubt have a leadership role if he is announced in the team.

Muller last put on the Green and Gold in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions, in 2009, and few people expected him to be called up from Irish side Munster to do it again.

“I was still under the impression until a few months ago that my Bok career was over. It’s a big privilege to suddenly be in the picture again.”

Muller wore the Boks’ number five jersey in 2007 when they took on the Wallabies in Sydney with a weakened side.

South Africa were 17-0 up after just 16 minutes, but Australia ultimately won 25-17.

Muller captained the Boks against New Zealand the following week when they lost 6-33 in Christchurch.

Notwithstanding the unhappiness about the make-up of the Bok squad, Muller is excited about the talent that South Africa are taking on tour.

“I don’t think there is another country in world rugby that can send a so-called B-side with so much quality overseas,” he said.

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