De Villiers rings the changes
July 20, 2010
Ruan Pienaar has been promoted to the starting line-up © Getty Images
South Africa coach Peter De Villiers has rung the changes ahead of Saturday's Tri Nations clash with Australia at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
The Springboks are coming off the back of consecutive losses at the hands of New Zealand and De Villiers has shuffled his pack in an effort to reverse his side's fortunes. There are four changes to the starting XV and a further five among the replacements from last week's 31-17 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in Wellington.
Ruan Pienaar has been given the nod at scrum-half ahead of the under-fire Ricky Januarie, with the Stormers No.9 missing out on the 22. Francois Hougaard, who can also cover the wing berths, starts on the bench. Gio Aplon is promoted to the starting line-up on the wing in place of the suspende Jean de Villiers.
BJ Botha starts ahead of CJ van der Linde at tight-head while Ryan Kankowski, primarily a No.8, replaces Stormers youngster Francois Louw on the flank. Louw is another to miss the cut this weekend, with the Bulls' Dewald Potgieter offering back-row cover on the bench. Other changes among the replacements see Flip van der Merwe and Juan de Jongh come in.
De Villiers explained that his changes were influenced in part by the characteristics of the Suncorp Stadium. "Statistics show that Suncorp has the fastest playing surface in Super 14 and we have to be prepared for a faster game," he said. "We have two tough games behind us, but if we stick to our structures and use our opportunities I believe this team is capable of getting a result."
South Africa: Z Kirchner (Bulls); G Aplon (Stormers), J Fourie (Stormers), W Olivier (Bulls), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), R Pienaar (Sharks); G Steenkamp (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks, capt), BJ Botha (Ulster), D Rossouw (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), R Kankowski (Sharks), P Spies (Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs), F van der Merwe (Bulls), D Potgieter (Bulls), F Hougaard (Bulls), B James (Bath), J de Jongh (Stormers)
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures