Fourie factor to fire up Boks
Mon, 23 Sep 2013 21:01
It will be a tight call
The ability of Fourie du Preez to cope with the intense pressure of Test matches will be key to the Springbok cause.
This is the view of Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, as he looks towards South Africa's crucial Rugby Championship showdown with Australia at Newlands on Saturday.
Addressing a media scrum at Cape Town, Meyer expressed his admiration for the qualities of the 31-year-old scrumhalf.
Widely regarded as the best No.9 in the world and possessing that X-factor every coach desires, the player with the ironic nickname of vuurhoutjie (matchstick) is expected to fire up the Boks in a must-win fixture.
Fourie, who missed the away leg of the Boks' Rugby Championship campaign because his Japanese club only gave him a partial release, will definitely add to his 63 Test caps at Newlands.
However, Meyer was not willing to divulge if it will be in the starting XV or off the replacement bench - as he did in the record-breaking 73-13 demolition of Argentina in Soweto last month.
"Fourie [du Preez] has always been part of our plans [for the home games]," Meyer said.
"It is great to have a player of his caliber," the coach said, adding: "I feel Ruan [Pienaar] has been playing better rugby.
"It will be a tight call there [at scrumhalf], but it is great to have [that] experience there.
"A guy like Fourie [du Preez] has been in this situation before - he is a guy that thrives on pressure and he is a guy that can give direction to the team.
"He will be considered for this game, definitely."
It is not just at scrumhalf where the Bok coach phases a few posers and he admitted there will be "some changes" to the starting XV from the team that lost to New Zealand in their last Test.
At hooker there is the choice between Adriaan Strauss and Bismarck du Plessis, while a fit-again Pieter-Steph du Toit could come in for Flip van der Merwe, who is struggling with a strained muscle.
"There won't be too many changes," Meyer said, adding: "It will probably [just] one or two."
The Bok mentor, who has done a thorough analysis of Australia. said sometimes you get players who, when away from home, are "useless" and then at home they are brilliant.
"I believe in coaching, not just being a selector.
"The guys have done well till now and we will show confidence in the guys.
"There are one or two rotational selections I told the players about even before the championship started.
"They know exactly where they stand, so there won't be a lot of changes to the team."
By Jan de Koning, from the Bok camp
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