The Springbok side named to take on Australia in Pretoria on Saturday:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn/Jaco Taute, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Jaco Taute/Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie
Hope you got your team in on time … Courtesy of Energade, I am hosting the winners of the Energade Bok Barometer competition on a trip to see the Boks play in Argentina next year. The winners being the guys or girls who correctly predict the Bok side that Heyneke Meyer picks each week this year …
Official comment from SARU:
Johan Goosen will start his first Test for the Springboks when he runs out at flyhalf against Australia on Saturday. It is one of three changes to the starting XV from the Springbok team that played New Zealand in Dunedin.
Goosen is one of the six players in the match-22 that are 21 years old or younger – the others being Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Pat Lambie, Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute.
The Western Province lock pair of Etzebeth and Andries Bekker will start in the middle row. Etzebeth is back in the Springbok team after missing the previous Test because of a suspension.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, in announcing his side to face Australia on Wednesday, also made four changes on the bench, where Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Jantjies and Taute have been included.
Jantjies and Taute have not played Test rugby for the Springboks, while Oosthuizen is back from injury. Van der Merwe and Bekker swap places in the match-22.
“I’ve maintained from the outset that I won’t rush Johan, but I feel he is now ready to start a Test for South Africa and I’m excited to see what he can bring,” said Meyer.
“Morné (Steyn), in the last four seasons, has played close to 140 matches at Test, Vodacom Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup level and probably deserves a break, but this also provides a great opportunity for Johan, a player I rate very highly.
“Morné is a quality player and a fighter and I know he will bounce back.”
Commenting on the changes at lock, Meyer said: “It’s good to have Eben back with us. Flip played very well in Dunedin, but he’s been struggling with an injury this week and that is why we decided to start with him on the bench. I also thought Andries did very well when he came on against New Zealand and he is an excellent jumper in the lineout as well.”
Frans Steyn, who has been struggling with an ankle injury, has been bracketed with Taute in the midfield. Should Steyn not pass a fitness test by Friday, Taute will start and Juan de Jongh will come in on the bench.
The Springbok starting XV, with Frans Steyn at inside centre, boasts a combined total of 468 Test caps, with 314 of those belonging to the backs and 154 to the forwards.
Meyer said the Springboks were looking forward to Saturday’s Test and realised the importance of the match.
“It’s great to be back home in South Africa after three tough matches on the road. We were not happy with the results in Mendoza, Perth or Dunedin and we know how big the Test at Loftus Versfeld is on Saturday,” said Meyer.
“The Australians will be tough opponents on Saturday. We’ve now lost our last five Tests against them and need to turn this around.”
The current 30 man Springbok squad:
Forwards (17): Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Juandré Kruger, Tiaan Liebenberg, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coennie Oosthuizen, Jacques Potgieter, Adriaan Strauss, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen
Backs (13): Jean de Villiers (captain), Juan de Jongh, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Jaco Taute.
And this is the side I would have selected:
15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Jaco Taute