Percy out, Jantjes and Nokwe in

2008-08-19 00:00

A week ago he was headline news, Prince Monty was ruling the rugby world and making South African history with his 100th Test cap.Yesterday he was back with the paupers and Percy Montgomery was dropped from the Springbok starting line-up to face the Wallabies at King’s Park on Saturday.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers, in spite of advice from all quarters, left his pack untouched for this Tri-Nations clash and yesterday made just two changes to the side beaten 19-0 by the All Blacks at Newlands last Saturday.

Conrad Jantjes will return at fullback for Montgomery while wing Jongi Nokwe, who made his debut against Argentina earlier this month, takes over from the injured Bryan Habana. The 2007 IRB Player of the Year, the Boks most dangerous attacker, was ruled out of action for 10 days because of a hamstring injury.

Montgomery had a solid first half at Newlands, but his confidence suffered in the second as he missed a couple of high balls and duffed two penalty attempts. It was expected that the 34-year-old would make way for the younger Jantjes, a former SA Schools and SA U19 cricketer with good hands, strong nerves and a willingness to counter-attack.

It is the decision of De Villiers and his selectors not to tamper with the pack, and the composition of the reserve bench, which will draw most comment.

The Boks, without a fetcher in the loose trio and yet running the ball away from the forwards, were cleaned out at the tackle.

A host of former Boks called for change, with the selection of Luke Watson on the flank, Joe van Niekerk at number eight and Danie Rossouw at lock — to add to the physicality of the forward pack — among the suggestions.

But De Villiers subscribes to the view that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, arguing that the Boks’ only problem at Newlands was that “they were not accurate in contact”.

He has left the Bok forwards to get right what was so wrong at Newlands, but he has made a change on the bench, bringing in number eight Van Niekerk for utility forward Rossouw. This leaves him with two loose forwards (Watson and Van Niekerk) among the reserves, but no back-up at lock.

De Villiers said Rossouw underwent a scan for back spasms on Monday.

“We felt Danie needed extra time to recover from his injury, so that he is ready to play for us at Ellis Park if he is needed,” said De Villiers.

Saturday’s Test kicks off at 3.05 pm.

Springbok team:

Conrad Jantjes, JP Pietersen, Adrian Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Jongi Nokwe, Butch James, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield (capt.), Andries Bekker, CJ van der Linde, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Brian Mujati, Joe van Niekerk, Luke Watson, Enrico Januarie, Francois Steyn, Percy Montgomery.

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