Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was forced to include 5 uncapped players in his match day 23, to face Scotland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
SA Under-20 flyhalf, Handre Pollard is the only uncapped player in the starting lineup as he replaced Morne Steyn, who has club commitments.
“Handré is a very talented player and has a big opportunity this week, but he’ll have Fourie du Preez’s experience next to him, while he’s played a lot with Jan Serfontein before. It’s great to have the current and a former World Junior Player of the Year in the same backline.
“Our plans had always been to try a few new combinations this week against Scotland and I’m looking forward to see the guys grab their opportunities,” said Meyer.
Sharks flyer Lwazi Mvovo also gets a start on the left wing in place of Brayn Habana who is out due to club commitments.
Meyer was full of praise for Mvovo, adding; “I am very proud of Lwazi. We pride ourselves at the Boks that we are a family. I’ve been harsh with Lwazi way back and said I don’t think his kicking game is good enough for a winger and his catching of the high ball was not good enough. He made some mistakes in the past especially against Australia. He is probably one of the quickest and one of the best finishers I’ve ever coached, but if you play against the top nations you cant have any weak points.”
Meyer continued saying how Lwazi had worked hard and in the end he was good enough to play fullback at the Sharks, and that he was grateful for the time Mvovo was given at fullback.
Speaking about the front row, Meyer added; “Jannie has been playing a lot of rugby and he’s been playing well. He missed a lot of tackles last year and this year he hasn’t missed one. He has really been working on his individual skills and he’s really been playing well.”
With the changes amongst the loose forwards, Meyer said they probably could’ve played Willem Alberts, but they didnt want to take any chances. He also rated Alberts as one of the unsung heroes in the Bok team, and they would rather want him fit for the Rugby Championship, as Schalk Burger is a suitable and obvious replacement.
“The great thing about Schalk is he can play 6, 7 and 8, and I still think 8 is probably his best position going forward,” said Meyer.
Meyer said he does not expect Burger to play like Alberts, he must play like Schalk.
Meyer was also impressed with the way Schalk showed his leadership abilities, getting the team together and motivating them, something the cameras don’t always show.
Commenting on the bench, Meyer said; “Adriaan, Trevor, Francois and Zane know what it’s about while the other guys will bring energy and enthusiasm with them.”
Meyer is also very excited about Lood de Jager making his debut in the starting XV, saying he’s been impressed with De Jager since day one, with not only his confidence in his playing ability but also his character. Meyer also reckons South Africa is blessed with all the talent at lock, also mentioning Sharks lock, Stephan Lewies, who only started playing Super Rugby this year.
Meyer compared the two locks to Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, saying de Jager fits the inforcer role of Botha and Lewies is more like Matfield, he also rates him highly as a no 5 lock.
The Springboks will face a confident Scotland side on Saturday after they’ve beaten the USA, Canada and Argentina on tour in the last three weeks.
“They are always a tough opponent, like we saw last year in Nelspruit, but our aim is to build on the two victories over Wales in the last fortnight,” said Meyer.Tweet