Du Preez, Strauss back for Boks
- 25 Sep 2013
Fourie du Preez and Adriaan Strauss will start for the Springboks against the Wallabies at Newlands on Saturday.
Du Preez replaces Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf, while Strauss and Bismarck du Plessis rotate at hooker.
Du Preez made a brief but impressive cameo for the Springboks against Argentina in the tournament opener, and starts his first Test since the 2011 World Cup quarter-final defeat to the Wallabies. He has been unavailable for the away leg of the tournament, but is central to coach Heyneke Meyer's charge for the title.
Pienaar has been inconsistent and was widely expected to make way for Du Preez, who offers a more rounded game. Jano Vermaak drops out of the squad.
Strauss's inclusion ahead of Du Plessis is more surprising, given the latter's form. However, Strauss was impressive in his time as the incumbent in 2012 and won't diminish the Springboks' potency considerably.
Elsewhere, resisting any further changes, Meyer persists with Flip van der Merwe at No 5 lock – an experiment that has yielded mixed results.
Springboks – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Stats and facts:
– The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 566 Test caps (334 in the backline and 232 in the forwards), while there are a further 229 caps worth of experience on the bench.
– South Africa and Australia have played each other 77 times since 1933, with the Springboks winning 43, losing 33 and drawing one. The Springboks have scored 1,473 points and 176 tries and conceded 1,349 points and 138 tries for an average score of 19-18.
– Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 76 Tests.
– Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing to 90, and could extend his record of 51 Test tries. He needs just one more try to equal the Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations record of Christian Cullen (New Zealand) who scored 16. He can also extend his own SA record of nine career tries against Australia.
– Morné Steyn will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok flyhalf, with 48 Tests so far in this position. If he scores a try, he will also extend his record of seven Test tries as a flyhalf. Steyn has scored 124 points in his career against Australia, just 16 points short of Percy Montgomery’s record of 140. Steyn is currently on 598 career Test points and could become only the second Springbok to score more than 600 points in Tests.
– Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis could extend their SA record of playing together to 30 Tests. If he scores a try Bismarck will also extend his own record of eight Test tries as a hooker.
– The Du Plessis brothers will become the first set of Springbok brothers to both play in 50 Tests for their country and the fifth pair of brothers worldwide. The others are Mauro (94) and Mirco (89) Bergamasco (Italy); Scott (67) and Gavin (67) Hastings (Scotland and the British & Irish Lions); Massimo (69) and Marcello (54) Cuttitta (Italy) and Robin (62) and Zinzan (58) Brooke (New Zealand).
– If he goes on and scores a try, Gurthrö Steenkamp will add to his record of six tries as a prop for South Africa.
– The referee is Jerome Garces of France. He was assistant referee to Romain Poite in the Test against New Zealand.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
Super Schalk made big statement
Schalk Burger’s performance in Christchurch was the big winner for South African rugby, writes MARK KEOHANE.
Super Rugby stats (Round 4)
SARugbymag.co.za looks at the players who topped the stats in key areas of the game this past weekend as well as for the season so far.
Expansion into mega mediocrity
Increasingly the decision to expand Vodacom Super Rugby in 2016 is looking like a decision to grow an enormous mediocre monster, writes RYAN VREDE.