Div plays down defeat, sticks to guns

2010-11-24 00:00

SPRINGBOK coach Peter de Villiers has not been distracted by failure and has again selected conservatively for Saturday’s international against England at Twickenham.

The Bok coach has made just two changes, returning Ruan Pienaar to scrumhalf in place of the young Francois Hougaard and bringing back Pierre Spies at number eight for Ryan Kankowski.

De Villiers yesterday included Beast Mtawarira at loosehead and said the Sharks prop “is ready to go” after his slight knee ligament strain against Scotland.

Two Blue Bulls players who have made little impact on tour, fullback Zane Kirchner and flank Deon Stegmann, are again in Victor Matfield’s starting line-up.

Unsurprisingly, Morne Steyn is retained at flyhalf ahead of the 20-year-old Pat Lambie and the severe weather conditions forecast for London this week justify that selection.

A string of Sharks players, among them Keegan Daniel, Kankowski, Willem Alberts, Alistair Hargreaves and Adi Jacobs, will now be hoping they start against the Barbarians at Twickenham in the final tour match on December 4.

De Villiers said he had dismissed the idea of making wholesale changes.

“This team has all the ability we need, but what we all know is that we have to execute more accurately than we did against Scotland.”

While the rest of South Africa is in a froth over the Murrayfield defeat, De Villiers said “there is no panic” in the squad.

“That Scottish game is behind us now but we’ve looked hard at the lessons of it and know that we can’t allow let ourselves to make as many mistakes in our basic execution.

“But Saturday’s performance wasn’t a true reflection of the talent in this squad and the players want to put that right and end the Test season on a high.”

He said that the conditions dictated the selection at flyhalf where Steyn is preferred to Lambie.

“A win here would boost our hopes before the World Cup. We want to put a marker down and then go and enjoy Christmas.”

Captain Matfield said the Twickenham Test is “a chance to redeem ourselves”.

“England will be very tough. They are very direct and we have to stop them building up their momentum.”

Team doctor Craig Roberts told the media yesterday he was confident that the six Boks routinely tested for banned stimulants after the Murrayfield Test would have no problems.

“It takes a week to eight days to get a result and given the precautions we have taken since early last week — when two Boks were suspended — we have no reason to be worried.”

The players have been taken off all supplements and vitamins not on the safety list, he added.

Due to the severe weather warnings for London tomorrow, the Boks’ final full practice has been brought forward to today.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 4.30 pm and Irish referee George Clancy will be in charge.

South African team:

15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Frans Steyn, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Morne Steyn, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Juan Smith, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Bakkies Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Willem Alberts, 20. Francois Hougard, 21. Patrick Lambie, 22. Adi Jacobs

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