Piennar, Vermeulen may make Bok squad

2012-09-05 00:00

SCRUMHALF Ruan Pienaar and number eight Duane Vermeulen are expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Perth.

The Springboks, with a makeshift backrow and lacking any backline spark, were comfortably contained by the Pumas in the drawn international in Mendoza last month.

And Meyer, while adamant that he will not make any major changes, either in style or personnel, is expected to opt for experience in specialist positions when he names his team today.

And two Blue Bulls could suffer with the abrasive but limited Jacques Potgieter making way on the flank and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard shifting to the wing.

Meyer is expected to switch Willem Alberts to blindside flank with Vermeulen, on his way back from serious injury, taking over at number eight.

Hougaard, an instinctive player but shackled by the Boks’ structured game when playing at scrumhalf, appears far happier when left to his own devices out on the wing. This would open the way to include the technically-superior Pienaar at scrumhalf.

Hougaard, on the wing, does bring an unpredictability to the backline and Meyer could add another creative element by including playmaker Pat Lambie at fullback for Zane Kirchner. This certainly will not happen on Saturday.

Kirchner, consistent and brave, has done nothing wrong in the internationals this season and Meyer will not look to fix what ain’t broke.

But it does seem as if he is delaying the inevitable and Lambie, who could be switched with flyhalf Morné Steyn on attack, would add another dimension to the Boks’ game.

The Boks believe that Saturday’s Test will be decided on the gainline and this will probably result in the inclusion of open side flank Francois Louw, who only joined the squad on Monday, on the bench.

Springbok backline coach Ricardo Loubscher told reporters in Perth yesterday that the focus would be on the backs and forwards carrying the ball over the advantage line.

“We want to make sure that whatever we do, whether it is off first phase or second phase, we get over the advantage line. It definitely has an impact on the backs if you get slow ball. The ideal situation is to get quick ball, but we have spoken about it and it is something that we need to sort out.”

The Wallabies are clearly determined to run the ball at the Boks and coach Robbie Deans yesterday recalled their counter-attacking fullback Kurtley Beale.

The good news is that the Boks will not have to contend with New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence this time round.

Welshman Nigel Owens will take charge of the Boks in a Test for an eighth time. The Test kicks off at 12.35 pm on Saturday.

Wallaby team line-up: page 19

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