Rugby Championship

Kirchner out to silence critics

2013-09-04 09:00
Zane Kirchner (AFP)
Cape Town - Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner is determined to prove his doubters wrong after he was included in the Springbok starting XV for their Rugby Championship match against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

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Kirchner, who is back to full fitness following a hand injury earlier in the season, will start his first Test of the year at fullback.

Kirchner's expected inclusion was greeted with shock by some pundits and fans, with many criticising his predictable kick-and-chase game.

Kirchner, in an interview with the SA Rugbymag website, pointed out that a strong kicking game is needed in the modern game as even the All Blacks (who are often falsely perceived as a team that embraces all-out attack) possess a fine tactical-kicking game and a fullback (Israel Dagg) with a tendency to put boot to ball.

"(The negativity) does get to you sometimes, it does frustrate you," Kirchner said in Brisbane on Wednesday.

"It doesn't happen anywhere else but in South Africa, where they feel I'm the fullback who kicks more than any other fullback in the world. It's not true, and statistics confirm it.

"Look at the No 1 fullback in the world," continued Kirchner, referring to Dagg. "If you look at how much he kicks ... Why don't people complain about him?"

The Bulls fullback will therefore be out to show his worth at Suncorp Stadium - a ground where the Boks are yet to beat the Wallabies.

"It's time to show what I'm worth," he said.

"I haven't had a lot of game time recently (his last game of competitive rugby was for the Bulls against the Brumbies in the Super Rugby semi-final), so it's about getting myself ready mentally, getting into the right space.

"Heyneke has shown some confidence in my ability by starting me, and now it's all about proving him right. It's also about proving myself right, as I believe that I belong here. I see it as a fresh start for myself to get back into the team and cement my position."

Kick-off is at 12:05 (SA time) on Saturday.

Teams:

Australia:

15 Israel Folau, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam-Ashley Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James O'Connor, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jesse Mogg

South Africa:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein

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