Trio set to for Test bow
July 18, 2011
Werner Kruger warms up for his Test debut this weekend © Getty Images
Props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger and loose forward Ashley Johnson are set to make their Test debuts for South Africa against Australia in their Tri-Nations clash in Sydney on Saturday.
Uncapped scrum-half Charl McLeod is also in line for his international bow after being named on the bench for the ANZ Stadium showdown. Lock Johann Muller has won his fitness battle but flanker Heinrich Brüssow was not considered as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
The team is led by John Smit, in his 103rd Test, and contains four other Rugby World Cup winners in Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, Danie Rossouw and Johan Muller. A sixth, CJ van der Linde, is on the bench as the replacement prop.
Three of the four potential new caps have appeared in non-Test Springbok matches; the exception is Greyling. "The new caps had outstanding Super Rugby seasons and this is an exciting opportunity for them," said De Villiers. "They have been rewarded for their form and now it's up to them. We have got some new combinations, but there is a lot of potential in this side and the players are hungry for this chance."
Joint Super Rugby top try scorer, Bjorn Basson (nine tries), was named on one wing with Lwazi Mvovo was named on the other in a backline also featuring the pace and elusiveness of Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh. The experienced trio of halfbacks Ruan Pienaar and Morne Steyn and inside centre Wynand Oliver complete the backline.
Lock Flip van der Merwe gets the chance to step out of his understudy role to the injured Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield while Bulls pairing, Deon Stegmann and Danie Rossouw partner Johnson in the back-row.
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, Johann Muller, Deon Stegmann, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Alistair Hargreaves, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Adrian Jacobs, Patrick Lambie
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby