Boks: Former sharks skipper recalled for Wallabies clash

2011-07-20 00:00

JOHANN Muller, the former Sharks captain now playing for Ulster, has been rushed back from injury and will start for the Springboks in their Tri-Nations opener against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday.

Muller, who thought his days as a Springbok were over when he left Durban to play club rugby in Ireland, has been recalled following coach Peter de Villiers’s decision to rest first-choice locks Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and Andries Bekker on tour.

He will partner Flip van der Merwe, the Blue Bulls’ fourth-choice lock, in the second row against Australia. De Villiers has opted against fielding veteran Danie Rossouw at lock and the Bulls utility forward will play off the side of the scrum.

There are three new caps in Cheetahs number eight Ashley Johnson, who is rewarded for his consistent form in Super Rugby, and the Bulls’ pair of props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger. Sharks scrumhalf Charl McLeod, named on the bench, could become the fourth player to make his Test debut on Saturday.

Heinrich Brüssow was not considered as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury.

“The new caps had outstanding Super Rugby seasons and this is an exciting opportunity for them,” said De Villiers. “They have been rewarded for their form and now it’s up to them. We have got some new combinations, but there is a lot of potential in this side and the players are hungry.”

Captain John Smit told journalists that Australia’s upset weekend defeat to Samoa would make the Boks’ job more difficult.

“They will be wanting to make a point against us and that was not the best result for us. There’s certainly no chance of us catching them cold right now and they’ll be pretty motivated to turn things around.”

The Australian coach Robbie Deans has made seven changes to the under-strength side he fielded against the Samoans and has recalled four of the Reds’ Super Rugby-winning team including star halfbacks Quade Cooper and Will Genia.

“They won’t be undercooked against us. We know that,” De Villiers said. “Genia and Cooper are a hell of a danger but there is a lot of danger in the Wallabies side.”

The players in the squad to miss out on selections are: Brüssow, Elton Jantjies, Ryan Kankowski, Odwa Ndungane, Coenie Oosthuizen and Adriaan Strauss.

There are two Sharks in the starting line-up (Lwazi Mvovo and Smit) but five more on the bench.

Deans had dumped flyhalf Matt Giteau who fails to make the 22 for Sydney as Australia field nine of the players who beat the Boks in Bloemfontein last year. Fullback Kurtley Beale, wing James O’Connor, Cooper, Genia and flank David Pocock are among established stars returning to the starting side.

Pat McCabe holds on to his place in midfield ahead of Anthony Faingaa, who will play off the bench. In the forwards Reds duo James Horwill and Rob Simmons return in the second row relegating veteran Nathan Sharpe to the bench.

Deans said his side had much to prove after the disastrous Samoa defeat. “Our standards were inadequate for what is required at Test level against Samoa and we paid the price for that,” he said.

“There are no short cuts in Test rugby. There is no substitute for rolling up the sleeves and doing the little tasks. Last Sunday was a massive wake up call for the group. We can’t turn back the clock on that performance, it will stay with us as a reminder, but we do have total control as to how we respond.”

The Test kicks off at 12.05 pm on Saturday with New Zealander Chris Pollok the referee.


South Africa: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Danie Rossouw, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Dean Greyling.

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Adi Jacobs, 22 Pat Lambie.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.

Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Pekahou Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Anthony Faingaa.

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