Kiwis ripe for the taking

2014-09-11 00:00

THE Springboks have a chance to do a number of remarkable things this weekend when they face the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.

For one, a win would give a fairytale ending to Captain Jean de Villiers’s 100th Test for the Boks. Secondly, victory would put them in a position to win the Championship with two home games still in hand.

That being said, Bok coach Heyneke Meyer holds the All Blacks in high regard although a number of injuries in their camp makes them ripe for the taking.

“They are missing a few, but if you look at our team, we’re probably missing a whole backline. It’s probably been one of the worries in this team where the forwards are settled and we’ve struggled to get continuity in the backs,” Meyer said.

The Bok coach is anticipating the likes of Fourie du Preez, Jacques Fourie, JP Pietersen and even Frans Steyn in the fold for next year’s World Cup but this weekend is the focus.

The All Blacks are licking their wounds after losing pivotal lock Sam Whitelock to injury. It could be a deciding factor at lineout time with the timely return of Victor Matfield to the Bok pack last week.

“To say dominate the All Blacks is big words. Like I said I’ve got a lot of respect for them and their coaching staff. I think one of the areas they’ve made a huge step up in the last few years is especially the lineouts,” he said.

The Boks have plenty of options in that department and considering that there may be a fair bit of tactical kicking come Saturday, the set piece will be crucial.

“You have to have at least five jumpers. Unfortunately they don’t throw a lot to where Matfield is and it puts pressure on the other jumpers. But he has been great coming back. Our lineout has improved and I think we’ve been 100% in the last two games. So he’s a big part of our lineout but you have to have more jumpers than that and I am happy with the amount we have in the team,” Meyer said.

Another talking point has been the elevation of Handré Pollard back to the starting lineup while Morné Steyn falls out of the team altogether.

“It’s probably a big call but I don’t see it as such. We know what we’ve got in Morné, he’s always done well for us. You can’t really experiment in the Championship but I’ve got a lot of confidence in Handré and I want to see what he can do at the highest level,” Meyer said.

The change is the only one to the Bok side that lost to Australia last weekend. Pollard will join fellow young gun Jan Serfontein in the midfield and Meyer wants to see them step up to the plate.

“What the All Blacks do well is attack the 10 and 12 channels. You’ve got two youngsters there but both have been the best players in their age group in the world. I believe they are quality players going ahead so they have to prove that they can defend at this level,” Meyer said.

The Boks meet the All Blacks in Wellington. Kick-off is at 9.35 am on Saturday.


Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (c), Bryan Habana, Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Lood de Jager, Warren Whiteley, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Damian de Allende.

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