Veteran fullback Percy Montgomery, having done his job for his country in Dunedin last weekend, will be back on the bench for Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test against Australia.
Jacques van der Westhuyzen writes for IOL.
Set to wear the No 15 jersey is Conrad Jantjes, one of the Boks’ star performers from the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington nearly two weeks ago.
Also back in the starting line-up will be Frans Steyn, who will take over the outside centre berth from the injured Adrian Jacobs.
The Sharks midfielder has failed to recover in time from a hamstring strain picked up in the Carisbrook victory, and will watch his team-mates from the stands this weekend.
Winger J P Pietersen, the Boks’ first try-scorer last weekend, will be retained on the right wing, while up front Schalk Brits will start for the Boks for the first time at hooker.
Pierre Spies will also get his first start of the tour, taking over from Joe van Niekerk at eighth man.
Those will be the only changes to the Bok run-on side for the clash against the Wallabies on Saturday. The 22-man squad is to be confirmed just after noon on Thursday.
The makeup of the replacements bench remained a closely guarded secret on Wednesday, but Bok boss Peter de Villiers intimated on Tuesday that he would consider using a split of five forwards and two backs, meaning the Boks could well take on Robbie Deans’s team with a complete second-choice front row, which will include new boy Adriaan Strauss. There will also be a first opportunity for Sharks eighth man Ryan Kankowski.
Deans, who named his team on Wednesday, said he had a lot of respect for the Boks who were not only a mature team, but a side that was growing stronger by the match.
“This is a mature Bok side,” said Deans, “and they’re not only formidable in what achievements they have behind them, but are still stacking them up as they go along.”
The former Crusaders coach added that De Villiers’s team had the upper hand over his charges because they had already played two matches in the competition. The Wallabies took last weekend off, and before that won three matches in a row against Ireland and France (twice).
“They’ll hit the ground running on Saturday,” said Deans. “They’ve played two fast-paced games and that gives them the edge, so we’re going to have to adapt quickly come match time.
“Also, with us playing the experimental law variations in a Test for the first time, we’re going to have to be careful not to get caught out.”
Deans said the fact that they were facing the World Champions in the final match of a three-week tour would not help his side.
“They’re the in-form team. Fatigue won’t be a problem for them at all, and they’ll know how important this game is. If they can get up for it and win, it will put them in a great position for the rest of the Tri-Nations.
“It’s always been a massive challenge playing against the Boks, and recent events (the World Cup win and the victory in Dunedin a week ago) have only added to the significance of this assignment, but it’s one we’re excited about,” he said.
The Boks, meanwhile, drew more than 2 000 fans to a public signing session in Perth’s “little South Africa”.
While many locals are suggesting this is something of a home game for the Boks because of the large expatriate community in Perth, the history at Subiaco suggests nothing of the sort.
The Boks have played here on four previous occasions, winning 14-13 in 1998 and 22-19 in 2005. Australia won 30-26 in 2004, and the 2001 contest ended in a 14-all draw.
The margin of victory in those three matches (besides the draw) is a clear indication of how evenly matched the sides are, and that no matter how much support the Boks get on Saturday, they face a stiff challenge.Tweet