Boks may aim for feeding frenzy

2010-11-30 00:00

THERE will be a strong Sharks flavour to the Springbok team to face the Barbarians in the final tour match at Twickenham on Saturday.

With seven players having left the tour group for a variety of reasons, coach Peter de Villiers has 23 available players and only nine of them are backs.

The nine backs are guaranteed of a place in the 22-man match squad but this does mean that De Villiers will have only two backs on the bench. One of the three hookers – Bismarck du Plessis, Bandise Maku and Adriaan Strauss – seems certain to be the unlucky player omitted from the 23.

There are 12 Sharks in the squad and they should all see action although flyhalf Pat Lambie will probably be selected at inside centre where he has played a couple of Currie Cup games.

With Frans Steyn returning to his French club, and Jean de Villiers (groin) back on the injured list, there is only one specialist centre in the squad in the Sharks’ Adi Jacobs.

Elton Jantjies, the promising young Lions flyhalf, is set to make his Bok debut.

Recent Sharks additions to the squad, wing Odwa Ndungane and scrumhalf Charl McLeod, are among the nine backs while Alistair Hargreaves is expected to replace the injured captain Victor Matfield at lock.

Free State flank Juan Smith has taken over the captaincy and he will start with two of the three Sharks’ loose forwards, Willem Alberts, Keegan Daniel and Ryan Kankowski.

De Villiers wants to accommodate all the fringe players and the Sharks’ Test props, Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis, could play off the bench with Free Staters CJ van der Linde and the 21-year-old Coenie Oosthuizen starting.

While Frans Steyn (and Ruan Pienaar have returned to their European clubs, the Bulls trio of Pierre Spies, Morné Steyn and Deon Stegmann have returned to Pretoria with Matfield.

The Bok team for the match will be named tomorrow.

Former Bok coach Nick Mallett, assisted by South African Alan Solomons, has assembled a strong Barbarian squad including a host of current All Black and Wallaby players. Among the players who have confirmed their availability are Wallaby backs James O’Connor, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau and Will Genia and they will be joined by All Blacks Ma’a Nonu and Joe Rokocoko.

The forwards initially named were Keven Mealamu (NZ), Stephen Moore (Aus), John Hayes (Ire), Salvatore Perugini (Ita), Neemia Tialata (NZ), Chris Jack (NZ), Tom Donnelly (NZ), Quintin Geldenhuys (Ita), Martyn Williams (Wal), Rodney So’oialo (NZ), Colin Bourke (Chiefs), Daniel Braid (NZ).

Injuries in recent weeks could force a number of changes to the Barbarian squad.

Meanwhile, South African Rugby Union president Regan Hoskins told the media that there were no plans to dismiss Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and his management team before next year’s Rugby World Cup.

De Villiers will face the usual post-tour review but the England win could not have come at a better time for the coach. Pressure on De Villiers increased after the loss to Scotland at Murrayfield but Hoskins was impressed by their weekend showing at Twickenham.

“It was good to end off the season on a high. They played to their strengths and we could see why they are the world champions.

“I am thankful to the coaches and the players for their efforts on this tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland,” he said. “It has been a tough year for us all, but this win over England was a good marker for 2011. I am really positive about our rugby and our chances of retaining the World Cup.”

The Springbok squad for the weekend is:

Backs: Gio Aplon, Francois Hougaard, Adi Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Charl McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane.

Forwards: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Keegan Daniel, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Alistair Hargreaves, Ryan Kankowski, Bandise Maku, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juan Smith (captain), Adriaan Strauss, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe.

The match kicks off at 4.30 pm on Saturday.

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