Matfield to skipper Springboks
September 26, 2011
Gio Aplon got himself among the tries against Namibia but he has been dropped for Friday's meeting with Samoa © Getty Images
The recalled Victor Matfield will lead South Africa in Friday's Rugby World Cup Pool D clash with Samoa at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
The veteran lock missed the Springboks' recent wins over Fiji and Namibia with a hamstring injury but he makes a timely return to the second-row in place of hamstring victim Bakkies Botha and takes over as captain from regular skipper John Smit, who has been dropped to the bench, with Bismarck du Plessis having gotten the nod at hooker from head coach Peter de Villiers.
"We're a group of senior players really working close together," Matfield said. "The things off the field this week have been very much the same with Smitty (John Smit) giving his input. My role on the field is pretty much the same as it always is, making certain calls. I'll go out and play the same way."
There are three other changes in personnel to the pack which faced the Namibians, with Tendai Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis replacing Gurthro Steenkamp and CJ Van Der Linde at loose-head and tight-head, respectively, while Heinrich Brussow reclaims the No.6 jersey from Willem Alberts.
In the backs, JP Pietersen is preferred to the unluckly Gio Aplon - who crossed twice against Namibia - on the right wing, while another on-form player, Francois Hougaard, makes way for Fourie du Preez at scrum-half.
Hougaard has, at least, been named among the replacements but Aplon misses out altogether because of the return of Jean de Villiers, who has recovered from a rib injury to claim a seat on the bench.
South Africa: Pat Lambie; JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis; Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield (capt); Heinrich Brussow, Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies.
Replacements: John Smit, Gurthro Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Francois Hougaard, Jean De Villiers.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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