Springboks name unchanged XV to face All Blacks
September 11, 2013
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer knows his side must step up to defeat the All Blacks © Getty Images
Coach Heyneke Meyer says the Springboks will need to go up a gear when they face the All Blacks in a top-of-the-table Rugby Championship clash in Auckland on Saturday.
South Africa will field the same starting XV and the same bench as they did for their 38-12 humbling of Australia in Brisbane last weekend. Meyer says it's a great position to be in to be able to name an unchanged squad, but added that he has utmost respect for the All Blacks.
"You don't want to get into the situation where it's easy to pick the same side and everything goes well and you've won," he said. "We know we have to make an unbelievable step up. This is the best team in the world we're facing."
The loose forward trio of Francois Louw, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen has been given the nod after its dominant performance at the breakdown. Interestingly, specialist flanker Flip van der Merwe will again partner Eben Etzebeth in the second row, despite New Zealand's superior lineout.
"We know the All Blacks are probably the best team in the lineouts so there will be a lot of pressure there," Meyer said. "But I have a lot of confidence in the pack; I think they've done well. And I think it's a well balanced side - we scored some good tries and defended not badly."
Meanwhile, there is a familiarity about the backline, with Ruan Pienaar at the base of the scrum. Sharp shooter Morne Steyn sits inside the impressive midfield combination of captain Jean de Villiers and rookie JJ Engelbrecht, while the lethal Bryan Habana is on his preferred left wing. Joining him in the back three will be Willie le Roux, who recently switched from the No. 15 jumper now held by Zane Kirchner.
The All Blacks won't name their side until Thursday morning, but Meyer says he isn't too bothered by what changes, if any, they will make to the side that beat Argentina in Hamilton.
"I try to think about their team but usually I have nightmares so I'd rather think about our team and what we have to do."
Meyer said some of his players had the flu but he expected they would all be over it by match day.
Both South Africa and defending champions New Zealand have won their first three matches of the tournament, but the Springboks lead the table because they have an extra bonus point.
South Africa: Zane Kirchner; Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw; Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juandre Kruger, Siya Kolisi, Jano Vermaak, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.
Follow live text commentary of the Test between New Zealand and South Africa on Saturday, September 14, from 5pm (AEST), 7pm (NZT), 9am (SAST), 7am (GMT)
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