Steyn gets his 'last chance'

2011-07-29 00:00

PAT Lambie will be back at fullback when he makes his first start in a Springbok jersey against the All Blacks in the Tri-Nations international in Wellington tomorrow, but coach Peter de Villiers has intimated that the 20-year-old Shark could be at flyhalf for the Rugby World Cup.

De Villiers, in announcing the team, said tomorrow’s Test is a last chance for Morné Steyn and others to play themselves into the World Cup squad.

“Some tough decisions will have to be made before the World Cup and for Steyn it might be a last chance so we hope he can rediscover his 2009 form,” he said.

Steyn was a match-winner with the boot against the 2009 British Lions, but playing from too deep, he fails to bring out the best in the Springbok backline. First Butch James and now Lambie appear to have overtaken him in the race for RWC selection.

Indeed, Lambie would almost certainly have been at flyhalf tomorrow had fullback Gio Aplon not been injured against the Wallabies last Saturday, and this has given Steyn “his last chance”.

The selection of Lambie in his old position at fullback is one of four changes to the team which started against the Wallabies.

De Villiers has surprisingly switched the experienced Danie Rossouw from flank to number eight, instead of lock.

This has left the Boks with their most inexperienced lock pairing in decades, with Gerhard Mostert making his debut in the second row alongside Alistair Hargreaves, who has three caps but has started just once in a Test match.

This time last week Mostert was in Paris, but was rushed to Sydney on Sunday after first Johann Muller and then Flip van der Merwe went down with injuries which ended their tours.

Certainly the Boks’ green tight five is hardly likely to fill the All Blacks with any dread.

Mostert and Hargreaves will be packing down behind two rookie props in Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger, who struggled against the Wallabies last weekend.

Together the Bok tight five have a total number of 108 Test caps of which hooker and captain John Smit has 103.

The other changes to the side see flank Jean Deysel promoted from the bench to take over from Rossouw, who replaces Ashley Johnson at number eight.

Deon Stegmann, who has yet to make an impact in five Tests for the Boks, somehow stays on as the openside flank.

The two backline changes are at fullback and in the midfield where Wynand Olivier, after another frustrating afternoon of running into tacklers in Sydney last Saturday, is dropped.

Juan de Jongh switches from outside to inside centre with the returning Adi Jacobs joining him in midfield.

“We have had a few injury challenges on this tour and last week was not a good start, but we have learnt from our game against Australia,” said De Villiers.

De Villiers said he had long been an admirer of Mostert.

“People may have forgotten that I included Gerhard in my first training squad in 2008 but he has been struggling with different injuries over the past few seasons.

“He came back strongly for the Sharks this season and now circumstances have given him an opportunity to show what he can do.”

Johnson and Olivier are joined on the bench by Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane, who is added to the replacements following the selection of Lambie.

John Smit leads the team in his 104th Test — a world record 78th as captain.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has also made four changes to the team which thumped Fiji last week.

Lock Samuel Whitelock returns to the second row, replacing last week’s Test debutant Jarrad Hoeata, while Jerome Kaino is back at blindside flank with Adam Thomson moving to number eight.

Daniel Carter returns to flyhalf and Cory Jane returns on the wing. The threatening centre, Sonny Bill Williams, replaces Ben Smith on the bench and he is set to make his first Test appearance at home.


All Blacks: 15 Mils Muliaina 14 Cory Jane 13 Conrad Smith 12 Ma’a Nonu 11 Zac Guildford 10 Daniel Carter 9 Jimmy Cowan 8 Adam Thomson 7 Richie McCaw (C) 6 Jerome Kaino 5 Ali Williams 4 Samuel Whitelock 3 Ben Franks 2 Andrew Hore 1 Wyatt Crockett

Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn 17 John Afoa 18Jarrad Hoeata 19 Liam Messam 20 Piri Weepu 21 Colin Slade 22 Sonny Bill Williams

Springboks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Danie Roussow, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Dean Greyling

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Ryan Kankowski, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Odwa Ndungane.

Kick-off: 9.35 am (SA time).

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