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Pool D preview: South Africa v Namibia

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 00:00
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You know it, we know it, the Springboks know it and the earnest Namibians know it - the Springboks will win as handsomely as they choose in their World Cup Pool D clash.

But all of those people also know that Jacques Burger and his men will give of their level best. There is just a huge cap between a rarely selected team of club players and tried and tested professionals.

Bless the Springboks, they have picked a worthy team to face their neighbours - so worthy that it is hard to see, individually and collectively, where the Namibians could get on a par with the South Africans.

The Namibians are hardy men but hardly of the same standard, though probably the loose forwards are the nearest they will get to parity and even there the Namibian trio is likely to be fighting for survival, not victory.

For the Springboks it is a chance to confirm their centre combination with Pat Lambie at fullback, their likely plan for the future.

Players to Watch: Chrysander Botha, the Namibian fullback, is adventurous and has dancing feet, flyhalf Theuns Kotze has a clever boot and tough, determined, unbowed Jacques Burger will again lead from the front and be as tough as any forward in the universe.

There are lots of Springboks to watch but especially perhaps electric Gio Aplon and zealous François Hougaard getting a rare chance to play scrumhalf where he is perhaps best suited. Veteran lock Bakkies Botha can confirm that his fitness really is all right. And maybe, just maybe, Bryan Habana will score a try!

Head to Head: The battle of the Burgers, both intent me, both fearless men, both 100 percenters - Jacques vs Schalk.

Previous Result

This was a form of match practice before the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

2007: South Africa won 105-13 at Newlands

Prediction: Namibia have been much better than they were at previous World Cups and stood up reasonably well to Samoa who beat Australia this year, but we expect South Africa to win by between 40 and 140 points.

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The teams:

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn , 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Francois Louw, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Fourie du Preez, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Juan de Jongh.

Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Danie van Wyk, 12 Piet van Zyl, 11 Heine Bock, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 7 Jacques Burger (captain), 6 Tinus du Plessis, 5 Nico Esterhuyse, 4 Heinz Koll, 3 Marius Visser, 2 Bertus O'Callaghan, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys.
Replacements: 16 Hugo Horn, 17 Jane du Toit, 18 PJ van Lill, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Ryan de la Harpe, 21 Darryl de la Harpe, 22 Conrad Marais.

Date: Thursday, 22 September 2011
Kick-off: 20.00 (08.00 GMT)
Venue: North Harbour Stadium, Albany
Expected weather conditions: Mostly cloiudy with a 20% chance of rain clearing, a high of 16°C, dropping to 11°C.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Tim Hayes (Wales)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

By Paul Dobson

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