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Friday, September 28, 2012

Springbok Team v Australia: Rugby Championship

Precocious flyhalf Johan Goosen will start his first Test for the Springboks when South Africa hosts Australia in the Rugby Championship at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow.

It's Time: Johan Goosen will make his first start for the Springboks
The inclusion of the 20-year-old flyhalf in the place of Morné Steyn is one of three changes to the starting XV that lost 21-11 to New Zealand in Dunedin two weeks ago, and comes after a rather protracted public outcry.

Goosen’s selection is also a sneak preview of the potential strength the Boks can boast in the future. Goosen is one of 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.

“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,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said on Wednesday when announcing the squad.

“Morné (Steyn), in the last four seasons, has played close to 140 matches at Test, Super Rugby and Currie Cup level and probably deserves a break, but this also provides a great opportunity for Johan, a player I rate very highly,” he added.

“Morné is a quality player and a fighter and I know he will bounce back.”

The other changes to the Springbok starting team come in the lock positions with the Western Province duo of Etzebeth and Andries Bekker returning to the fold. Etzebeth is back in the starting lineup after missing the defeat to the All Blacks because of a suspension while Bekker has been promoted from the bench, replacing Flip van der Merwe

“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,” Meyer said

in announcing his side to face Australia, Meyer also made four changes on the bench, including the inclusions of Coenie Oosthuizen, and the uncapped duo of Jantjies and Taute.

There could yet be one more change to the team, depending on the fitness of centre Frans Steyn. Steyn, who has been struggling with an ankle injury, has been bracketed with Taute in midfield. Should Steyn not pass a fitness test by today, Taute will start at 13 with captain Jean de Villiers moving to inside centre and Juan de Jongh coming in on the bench.

Meyer said the Springboks were looking forward to tomorrow’s Test and added that his 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.”

Springboks looking to turn around a recent poor run against Australia
Match Trivia

- Saturday’s Test will be the 76th between South Africa and Australia. Of these, the Springboks have won 41, lost 33 and drawn one.

- The two teams have played 37 Tests against each other in The Castle Rugby Championship. The Springboks won 17, lost 19 with one match drawn. Points for: 796; Points against: 865; Tries for: 73; Tries against: 86; Average score: 22-23.

- Since 1933 the Springboks have played only five test matches against Australia at Loftus Versfeld and have been triumphant in all five. In 1997 South Africa scored their highest ever total number of points against Australia (61) at this venue.

- South Africa’s record against Australia at Loftus: Played 5; Won 5; Points for 161; Points against 87; Tries for 17; Tries against 9; Average score 32-17.

- Bryan Habana is the most capped Springbok wing with 80 Tests. He also holds the records for most tries in all Tests by a Springbok (43) and most tries by a Springbok in this competition (10).

- Jean de Villiers, the most capped Springbok centre with 64 Tests in this position, will become only the seventh Springbok to reach 80 Tests for South Africa. This will also be his 20th Test against Australia.

- Johan Goosen (who made his Bok debut in Perth earlier this month aged 20 years, one month and 12 days) is the fourth youngest player to play Test rugby for the Springboks since readmission in 1992. The youngest was Frans Steyn (19 years, 5 months, 28 days), followed by Chiliboy Ralepelle (19 years, 11 months, 15 days) and Pat Lambie (20 years and 20 days).

Springbok Team:

15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Bryan Habana, 13. Jean de Villiers (captain), 12. Francois 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. Andries Strauss, 1. Beast Mtawarira

Replacements: 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

Source: News24

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