The Springboks start their home leg of the Tri Nations campaign against the Australians in Durban today, with the Boks desperately needing a win to get some points on the log and stop a losing culture that has come over them in recent times.
The Springboks field a side that shows almost no resemblance to the side that lost both away encounters last month, with so called A team players back from their injuries and ready to do duty. This influx of returning players can be seen in every area of this team, with first choice props Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis adding much needed stability to the forward pack, and Matfield and Botha able to win us a few line outs, the Boks will have plenty more go forward ball.
The Australians, the only team who have not falling into the trap of resting their players, field almost exactly the same side that beat them in Sydney a few weeks ago, with their top combinations playing together week in and week out. This has its positives and of course negatives, as players could quite easily get injured.
I look forward to seeing some of the great Springboks play in what could be their penultimate home game in the Green and Gold, and I have the privilege of being able to attend this game and see them in action. Come on boys, let’s do this thing!
South Africa: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 François Hougaard, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Gio Aplon.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (captain), 5 James Horwill, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Radike Samo, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Anthony Fainga’a.
Date: Saturday, 13 August 2001
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban
Expected weather: There is a 40 percent chance of rain with a high of 20°C, dropping to 13°C.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)