England in SA

Meyer has faith in lock duo

2012-06-06 22:16
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Durban - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is confident his new uncapped lock pairing will have what it takes in the first Test against England at Kings Park on Saturday.

Meyer picked three new caps in the forward pack, with locks Eben Etzebeth and Juandré Kruger both set for their first Test, with flanker Marcell Coetzee the third uncapped player.

"I have faith in the players and the ball is now in their hands to show they have what it takes to perform constantly at this level," Meyer said.

Despite the new forwards line-up, the Boks still named an experienced backline and had 458 Test caps in the starting XV, with wing and South Africa try-scoring record-holder Bryan Habana the most capped with 74 Tests.

Backs Jean De Villiers, Habana, Francois Steyn and right wing JP Pietersen were all part of the Springboks' World Cup-winning squad in 2007.

The Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, and Tendai Mtawarira form an all-Sharks front row at their home ground for the first Test.

Sharks team-mate Coetzee, who replaced Heinrich Brüssow after Meyer surprisingly left the World Cup openside flanker out of his squad altogether, just turned 21.

The 2.03m Etzebeth, who was playing university rugby last year, is only 20 and will combine with Kruger in place of former second row pair Matfield and Bakkies Botha - who hold the world record for starting 62 Tests together at lock.

"It's quite a new thing for South African rugby to have two uncapped locks starting," Meyer said, "so obviously that's a huge step up for them and they'll need to prove they can play at this level, which I am very confident about. Marcell's played great rugby the whole year and he'll definitely be a superstar in years to come.

"Although the team is quite young, we still have some experience across the starting XV. The balance in the team is right in the way we want to play against England and we're looking forward to the first Test of the season."

The first Test in Durban kicks off at 17:00 on Saturday, followed by Tests in Johannesburg (16 June) and Port Elizabeth (23 June).


South Africa:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 Wynand Olivier


15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Paul Doran Jones, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Toby Flood, 22 Jonathan Joseph

New Springbok lock pairing Juandré Kruger and Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)

Read more on:    springboks  |  england in sa  |  heyneke meyer  |  rugby

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