Muller steps into the breach

2009-06-30 00:00

SHARKS lock and captain Johann Muller, who was bitterly disappointed to be omitted from Peter de Villiers’s initial Springbok squad, seems certain to start Saturday’s third Test against the British Lions at Ellis Park.

Muller was yesterday drafted into the Springbok squad when it emerged earlier in the day that Bakkies Botha had been suspended for two weeks and Andries Bekker had torn a cartilage in his knee during the second Test against the British Lions at Loftus.

A third lock, Danie Rossouw, was knocked silly by Brian O’Driscoll’s head-high challenge and he is being closely monitored and will follow the standard concussion protocol.

Muller, who last played for the Boks in 2007, was part of the South African training squad that faced a Namibian invitation XV in Windhoek last month.

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said that centre Jean de Villiers and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, both with shoulder injuries, were examined by a specialist in Pretoria yesterday and have been cleared for selection.

Bok coach De Villiers’s reputation for obstinacy will be tested today — when he names his team for the third Test — and we will see whether he is willing to accept change and select Morné Steyn ahead of Ruan Pienaar as his first-choice flyhalf. De Villiers has resolutely backed the talented Pienaar, but Steyn was in irrepressible form in the 16 minutes he was on the field in the second Test and he deserves to start at Ellis Park on Saturday. Certainly his omission would lead to much wailing in Pretoria and would be difficult to justify. Steyn has shown that he can run, tackle and pass and he is a match-winner with the boot.

De Villiers also has a problem with centre Jaque Fourie, another who deserves to start. Certainly De Villiers appears rusty and his shoulder injury might persuade the Bok coach to start with Fourie at outside centre with Adi Jacobs on the inside. Apart from replacements of suspended players — Muller for Botha and Heinrich Brüssow for Schalk Burger — the pack will be unchanged.

Meanwhile, Morné Steyn said he thought captain John Smit would turn to Frans Steyn for the final penalty, which won Saturday’s Test with the last kick of the game.

Morné Steyn said he was confident he could kick the 55-metre penalty, but said he had seen Frans Steyn moving forward to take the kick.

“He is the long-range specialist and I thought John might give him the ball,” the Bulls flyhalf told reporters. “But I wanted that kick. I knew I would put it over. I live for kicking those long ones.

“I live and play rugby for days and moments like that. It was one of the best strikes ever. It’s just wonderful I could contribute in that way to a series triumph over the Lions.

“Maybe for the next 12 years they’ll be talking about my kick as we have been talking about Jeremy Guscott’s drop-kick in 1997.”


Possible Bok starting line-up for Ellis Park (3pm):

Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Jaque Foure (or Jean de Villiers), Adi Jacobs, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow, Victor Matfield, Johann Muller, John Smit (c), Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.