Fourie to start against Wallabies
Fourie to start against WallabiesSHARE
South African coach Heyneke Meyer wasted no time in drafting back star scrumhalf Fourie du Preez for the crucial Rugby Championship Test against Australia.
Du Preez, ahead of Ruan Pienaar, is one of two key changes for the encounter at Newlands on Saturday.
He will start his first Test for the Springboks since the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal against Australia in New Zealand.
The other is Adriaan Strauss at hooker ahead of Bismarck du Plessis – who was controversially red-carded, after two yellow cards, the first a ridiculous blunder by referee Romain Poite, against New Zealand a fortnight ago.
The rest of the team that played against New Zealand in Auckland is unchanged.
Meanwhile veteran prop Jannie du Plessis and ace flyhalf Morné Steyn will reach the special milestone – both playing in their 50th Tests for South Africa.
It will be the second time in Springbok history that two players will earn their 50th caps in the same Test – on 1 August 2009 Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana, now the two most experienced members of the squad, reached this special milestone together against New Zealand in Durban.
Du Plessis and Steyn will become the 25th and 26th Springboks to play in 50 Tests for South Africa.
Steyn also needs two points to move to 600 Test points for the Boks – he is currently on 598 in his 49 Tests to date.
The last Springbok to play in his 50th Test was Jannie du Plessis's brother Bismarck du Plessis, against Argentina in Mendoza last month – which means they will become the first set of brothers ever to play in 50 Tests for South Africa.
"We're all very pleased for Jannie and Morné, who are great ambassadors for South Africa and the Springboks," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
"They have endured through difficult times but have shown a lot of resilience and that is why they have made it to this special milestone. It's well-deserved and a privilege only a very small percentage of Springboks have achieved."
Regarding the changes to the team, Meyer said: "The players all knew what the plans were for the Championships and where they stand. We were always going to rotate players where possible and planned to start this Test with Adriaan and Fourie.
"We know we're in for a big challenge against Australia. The players have been working very hard and we're looking forward to playing in front of our own supporters at DHL Newlands on Saturday – it's always special to play Tests in South Africa," added Meyer.
This will be the Springboks' 50th Test at Newlands since 1891 – the first stadium in South Africa to host 50 Tests.
In the previous 49 Tests, South Africa have won 33, lost 14 and two were drawn for a winning percentage of 67.
The Springboks scored 938 points (122 tries) with 593 points against them (63 tries) – average score 19-12.
South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Date: Saturday, September 28
'Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT; 01.00 Sunday, September 29 AEST)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Pascal Gauzère (France)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)