Bok coach Peter de Villiers made nine changes to his match-day 22 and looking at the selections the Boks are seemingly preparing to run what is bound to be a ring-rusty Aussies outfit off their feet.
In two weeks the Boks gifted New Zealand 10 log points in a competition that has been won by a team scoring only 14. With this in mind the Springboks now know if they stand any chance of winning the Tri-Nations trophy a couple of bonus point victories is an absolute must, starting this weekend against the Australians.
The first thing that will jump out at any person going through the starting 15 will be the fact that no specialist fetcher will be starting, unless of course you believe Schalk will fulfil that role which seems unlikely given his role in the Stormers this year which was more of a linking, ball-carrying loose-forward.
De Villiers has gone with two attacking minded loose-forwards in his starting 15 opting to start Ryan Kankowski in the number 7 jersey with Pierre Spies, having been a bit anonymous in recent tests against the All Blacks retaining his number 8 jersey.
In addition to this De Villiers also dropped Ricky Januarie from his match-day 22 completely opting for a more attack minded and quicker Ruan Pienaar at 9, with the young but exciting Francois Hougaard providing cover from the bench.
Gio Aplon is also included on the wing albeit for a forced change for the suspended Jean de Villiers. De Villiers also could have opted for a more game-breaking option of Juan de Jongh at 12 but one has to remember that Olivier and Morne Steyn has combined well in the midfield as part of a Bulls team that scored a number of tries in the recent Super 14.
The Boks are obviously banking in getting ascendency at the set pieces against an Aussie tight 5 that struggled in the scrums against England in their recent tests and with all three loosies also being line-out options in addition to the obvious lock options it is clear that they would expect solid platforms from where to attack the Aussies from everywhere.
Even Danie Rossouw at lock who has covered loose-forward a number of times in his career is a ball-carrying and linking option for an attack-minded Bok side.
De Villiers has cover on the bench if this backfires with Dewald Potgieter being able to bring more balance to the loose-trio but I believe the message is clear – the Boks are going for a 4-try bonus point win before they return home to regain some respectability from their overseas leg of the tour and set themselves up for a chance to retain the Tri-Nations crown when they will host both nations at home in August and September.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Ryan Kankowski, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Reserves: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Dewald Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Butch James, 22 Juan de Jongh.Tweet