All Blacks and Boks set for re-match
July 15, 2010
Rene Ranger will make his first start for the All Blacks against the Springboks on Saturday © Getty Images
South Africa coach Peter De Villiers has resisted the urge to ring the changes in the wake of last weekend's demoralising loss to New Zealand.
The Boks' boss has stood by the vast majority of his side following their 32-12 humbling at Eden Park last time out with his line-up just showing two enforced changes - with both coming in the pack. Danie Rossouw will win his 50th cap in place of the suspended Bakkies Botha - who was handed a nine-week ban for a head-butt on All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan in the opening moments of their clash last Saturday - and CJ van der Linde starts at tight-head following an injury to Jannie du Plessis. The only change on the bench sees Sharks No.8 Ryan Kankowski drafted in to fill the void left by Rossouw.
As a result, the team that will take to the field at the Westpac Stadium will be the most experienced Springboks line-up of all time with 700 Test caps amongst the starting XV - two more than the side that won the Rugby World Cup against England in 2007.
"I trust this bunch of people. They weren't on song on Saturday but they weren't bad. It's just that the All Blacks were very good," De Villiers said ahead of the re-match. "These boys are much better than what we showcased on Saturday and it's time for them to stand up."
All Blacks head coach Graham Henry has also made two changes to his side with Rene Ranger handed his first star ahead of the injured Joe Rokocoko (hamstring) on the wing while scrum-half Piri Weepu has also been promoted at the expense of Jimmy Cowan.
Rokocoko failed to overcome a hamstring strain and while Cowan has recovered from an abdominal strain, his mixed display at Eden Park has seen him replaced by 39-Test veteran Weepu, who has been largely employed as an impact player in recent seasons. The only other change in the 22 sees Israel Dagg introduced as outside back cover in place of Richard Kahui, who injured his shoulder in the Auckland Test.
"Rene's like any new player. Coming up to this level is quite a big ask because you have to learn the tactical approach that we're taking and the moves that we're going to use," said assistant coach Wayne Smith. "Then you've got to come up to the level mentally. But you've to be careful that you don't clutter these guys and you let them go out and do what they're good at."
New Zealand: M Muliaina (Chiefs); C Jane (Hurricanes), C Smith (Hurricanes), M Nonu (Hurricanes), R Ranger (Blues); D Carter (Crusaders), P Weepu (Hurricanes); T Woodcock (Blues), K Mealamu (Blues); O Franks (Crusaders); B Thorn (Crusaders); T Donnelly (Highlanders); J Kaino (Blues); R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), K Read (Crusaders)
Replacements: C Flynn (Crusaders), B Franks (Crusaders), S Whitelock (Crusaders), L Messam (Chiefs), J Cowan (Highlanders), A Cruden (Hurricanes), I Dagg (Highlanders)
South Africa: Z Kirchner (Bulls); J de Villiers (Western Province), J Fourie (Stormers), W Olivier (Bulls), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers); G Steenkamp (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks, capt), CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs), D Rossouw (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), F Louw (Stormers), P Spies (Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), BJ Botha (Ulster), A Bekker (Stormers), R Kankowski (Sharks), R Pienaar (Sharks), B James (Bath), G Aplon (Stormers)
Referee: A. Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: A. Lewis (Ire), S. Dickinson (Aus)