‘Our aim is four tries’

2013-10-01 00:00

THE Springboks will have to make one or possibly two changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s final Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks with Sharks rookie lock Pieter-Steph du Toit likely to make his Test debut off the bench.

The Springboks have only one injury concern, team doctor Craig Roberts said yesterday, but lock Flip van der Merwe will definitely miss the Test after yesterday receiving a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle on Wallaby wing Joe Tomane in the weekend game at Newlands Stadium. (Meanwhile, serial offender Ma’a Nonu, the All Black centre who cynically took out Jean de Villiers off the ball in Auckland, plays on).

“We have the usual bumps and bruises but the biggest concern is [centre] JJ Engelbrecht, who took a big knock to his quad muscle and he’s got a big contusion there,” Roberts said yesterday.

Jan Serfontein, the Bulls centre, is likely to start in the midfield if Engelbrecht is forced to stand down, with Jean de Villiers shifting to outside centre and Juan de Jongh joining the bench.

Golden Lions lock Franco van der Merwe was yesterday called into the Springbok squad following the suspension of Flip van der Merwe, but it seems certain that he will only make up the numbers at training. Juandré Kruger, who lacks the physical presence of Van der Merwe but is a better lineout jumper, is expected to start in the second row with the Sharks’ 21-year-old lock Du Toit joining the replacements.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said yesterday that the players were targeting a four-try bonus point to claim the Rugby Championship trophy for the first time since 2009.

“I have a lot of respect for New Zealand, but we have to go out there and be positive,” Meyer said. “I always believe what the mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve, so we need to go out there and try and score four tries.

“In saying that, it is a huge challenge, but you have to take risks and the way New Zealand play can put you under pressure and force you to make mistakes.

“Obviously it will be great just to beat them, but you either go for the four tries or you don’t.”

Meyer would not be drawn on the suspension of Van der Merwe. The burly lock received a yellow card on Saturday, but a Sanzar disciplinary hearing yesterday ruled it a red card offence and suspended him.

“We accept the decision. These things happen and we have to put this behind us,” Meyer said.

“Losing any player, for whatever reasons, is never ideal, but Franco knows our structures and plays very well, having been part of the squad since June last year.”

Meyer admitted he was disappointed the Boks had failed to pick up a four-try bonus point at Newlands, which has left them with a mountain to climb at Ellis Park.

“Australia played much better in the second half. The main thing was to win and I am very happy that we’ve still got a chance going into this game [on Saturday].”

Meyer said he was preparing for an aerial challenge from the All Blacks.

“Their kicking game is probably the best in the world and that is one area where we’ve fallen behind. They kick and regain possession and they put you under pressure and score from there.”

Kick-off is at 5 pm on Saturday.

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