Boks brace for open game
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Springboks expect a fast-paced encounter against Australia in their Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
VIDEO: Heyneke Meyer hails Morné Steyn - in the shower!
With the national side back on home soil and playing at altitude, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said on Wednesday they were bracing themselves for an open game.
"If you look at the previous games on the highveld, they (Australia) opened up the game from the kick-off, kept the ball in hand," Meyer said.
"I think that is probably why they will go with (Kurtley) Beale at 10 as well.
"Their intention will be to move us around and to run us around and hope we will tire."
The last time the two sides clashed at altitude in the Tri-Nations was in 2010 when both matches turned into high-scoring games.
The Springboks beat their counterparts from Down Under by 44-31 at Loftus Versfeld while the Australians won the next match 41-39 in Bloemfontein.
Incidentally, it was Beale that sunk the Boks with a penalty conversion on the full-time whistle.
Meyer, however, felt the Wallabies would play into their hands if they opted for an expansive game at Loftus.
"I like that because it gives you chances of great defence to get turnovers and you score from turnovers," he said.
"They will definitely play an attacking game, move the ball around, but that will suit our game plan as well. We will also open up the game.
"In a sense, on the highveld, there are always more tries and that will be great for the public."
Meyer also made minor changes to his side in line with the game plan they expected the Wallabies to employ.
One of the changes was to replace lock Juandré Kruger with Andries Bekker.
"Against New Zealand you want guys who play more to the ball, which suits Juandré (Kruger) and Flip (Van der Merwe) and they were superb with that playing to the ball and hitting rucks," he said.
"With Australia it is always a more open game and Andries's strong point is to pitch up as a centre, ala Victor Matfield, on the wing sometimes.
"He brings something different and it is going to be a more open game. I think it is going to be a quick game.
"They are going to open up the game and if they open up the game we will do the same."
Meyer has come under severe criticism over the Springboks' game plan but he assured on Wednesday that the team had already made changes to their play.
"If you are a rugby purist, there are slight changes from week to week," Meyer said.
"Three away games against three tough countries is tough.
"So we've changed a few things and obviously you want the guys to score tries and go out there and express themselves, so hopefully things will click."
He believed the team had already made strides in the right direction and expected his charges to win on home soil.
"I am not making any promises," he said.
"I can see this team is improving every single week but even if you are a young, inexperienced side, you have to win your home games."
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Francois Steyn/Jaco Taute, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Jaco Taute/Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie