The Springbok who dropped two sensational goals to sink the Wallabies at Newlands last year, is expected to have another chance to terrorise the Australians here on Saturday.
Frans Steyn will probably take over at outside centre from Adrian Jacobs, who is injured, in South Africa’s starting lineup for the Tri-Nations rugby Test match at the Subiaco Oval.
Steyn’s two drop-goals steered the Springboks to a 22-19 win in Cape Town last season.
Jacobs suffered a hamstring injury after another fine performance in the second Test against New Zealand last Saturday.
The 30-28 victory at Carisbrook moved South Africa into a favourable position in the Tri-Nations race but Jacobs’s injury was a matter of concern here on Monday.
Loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp is also a doubtful starter. He has a cut near one of his eyes. If he is unable to play, Tendai Mtawarira is likely to take on the Aussies in the front row.
Schalk Brits will be the new hooker in place of Bismarck du Plessis, who has been suspended after replacing injured John Smit, the Springbok captain and No 1 hooker.
“It’s one of those things one just has to live with,” Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said on Monday when he was asked about fielding a third hooker in as many Test matches.
“One can lose focus if you concentrate on it too much. We have to build on the foundation we now have.
“Schalk is a Springbok, whether he has played for two or three minutes or in 80 or 90 Test matches. He is ready to give everything, as is everyone else.”
De Villiers may also consider a change among the loose forwards, where Pierre Spies is in the running to take over at No 8 from Joe van Niekerk. Another option is to use Ryan Kankowski as impact player from the back of the scrum.
The coach, whose selections won’t be queried too loudly after the Carisbrook victory, expects a new sort of challenge from the Wallabies.
“It will be a lot different to playing against the All Blacks,” he said. “Psychological preparation will be very important; that’s where this battle will be won.”
The Wallabies will have their first experience of Test-match rugby under the experimental laws this week.
The Springboks have the advantage of being more accustomed to the laws after two Tests against New Zealand but the Aussies would have studied and analysed their performances.
“They’ll know what to expect from us but we don’t know much about them. We have to depend on old footage,” De Villiers pointed out.
Perth, he added, felt like “a second South Africa” with so many former South Africans living in the city.
“We have seen more smiles here in less than two days than during the whole time in New Zealand. Even the customs officials were friendly. We’d like to thank them for their assistance.”Tweet