Springboks lose Muller for opener
July 21, 2011
Alistair Hargreaves has been promoted to the Springboks' starting line-up © Getty Images
South Africa will tackle Australia in Saturday's Tri-Nations opener without experienced Ulster lock Johann Muller, who has been forced to pull out with a hamstring injury.
The 31-year-old second-rower had initially been passed fit to start against the wounded Wallabies in Sydney, but further tests on his hamstring strain revealed that the injury had not healed sufficiently.
Muller's place in the starting XV has been taken by Sharks lock Alistair Hargreaves, who will make his maiden Test start alongside Bulls youngster Flip van der Merwe in the engine-room.
Hargreaves won two caps as a replacement on the Springboks' November tour of Europe in 2010 - against Wales and Italy - and joins debutants Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger and Ashley Johnson in a new-look side. John Smit captains the Boks in his 103rd Test, with Hargreaves' place among the replacements passing to his Sharks team-mate Ryan Kankowski.
Back-rower Danie Rossouw has lashed out at critics of the Springbok selection, claiming that there is no such thing as a second string side.
"This second string stuff, I'm not listening to it. It's a Springbok team and if you get picked for a Springbok team, you give your best," he said. "We've got the best 22 for this game and that's how it is. It's not nice to be called the second-string team."
Centre Wynand Olivier echoed Rossouw's sentiments and warned the Wallabies not to expect an easy ride after last weekend's humbling loss to Samoa.
"As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as a B side or a second string side or whatever," he said. "In years to come, they're going to say Samoa beat Australia. They're not going to ask what the side was like.
"So Samoa beat them and, for us, we're the Springboks and we've come here to win the game and put up a challenge. This weekend is definitely going to be a big one - B side, A side, it doesn't matter. A Test is a Test and it's always a physical confrontation and I can't see anything less than a physical confrontation."
South Africa: Gio Aplon; Bjorn Basson, Juan de Jongh, Wynand Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Dean Greyling, John Smit (captain), Werner Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Alistair Hargreaves, Deon Stegmann, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Adrian Jacobs, Patrick Lambie
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