Matfield set to join 100 club
August 24, 2010
Victor Matfield will win his 100th cap on Saturday © Getty Images
Springbok lock Victor Matfield will win his 100th Test cap when his side look to secure a morale-boosting victory over Australia in Pretoria on Saturday.
The veteran Bulls campaigner, 33, will be hoping for a better outing than his skipper, John Smit, whose Test century was wrecked last weekend by a missed tackle in the build-up to the All Blacks' winning try in Soweto. Matfield partners his young Bulls team-mate Flip van der Merwe in the engine room on their home ground.
Victory at FNB Stadium secured a 10th Tri-Nations title for New Zealand and while the Boks are in contention only for second place, a win over Australia is absolutely vital as they look to rebuild their fragile morale.
Coach Peter De Villiers has made two changes, with one predictably coming at fullback, where Frans Steyn is recalled. The Racing Metro back played 80 minutes for his club last Friday after more release wrangling and replaces the unlucky Gio Aplon - who drops out of the 22.
"Frans is an outstanding player, a natural athlete," De Villiers said. "He's used to playing alongside many of these players and I have no doubt that he'll slot straight in. We don't have another kicker on and we all know Francois's ability.
"So that made the decision a lot easier for us, especially when you have to put some fresh legs on, you know you have a full-back with the kicking skills on your team to continue with the standard that we set."
The other change comes in the centre, where Stormers youngster Juan de Jongh is replaced by his more experienced franchise team-mate Jaque Fourie, who has completed a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle.
Cheetahs flanker Juan Smith has been named in the starting line-up despite initial fears over an abdominal strain picked up against the All Blacks.
De Villiers has also shuffled his options on the bench, where Sharks back-rower Ryan Kankowski ousts Francois Louw from the panel after an eye-catching Currie Cup outing against Western Province last weekend.
South Africa: F Steyn (Racing Metro); JP Pietersen (Sharks), J Fourie (Stormers), J de Villiers (Western Province), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), F Hougaard (Bulls); G Steenkamp (Bulls, J Smit (Sharks), J du Plessis (Sharks), F van der Merwe (Bulls) V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), J Smith (Cheetahs), P Spies (Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Free State Cheetahs), D Rossouw (Bulls), R Kankowski (Sharks), R Januarie (Stormers), B James (Bath), J de Jongh (Stormers)