Rugby Championship

Meyer: Go easy on Goosen

2012-09-26 22:20
Johan Goosen and Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has warned Bok fans not to have unreasonably high expectations of new flyhalf Johan Goosen.

VIDEO: Heyneke Meyer's sings Morné Steyn's praises... in the shower!


Goosen was on Wednesday given his first Test start by South Africa for Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld after Morné Steyn was dropped for a much-criticised dip in form.

The young Free Stater has been earmarked as the long-term No 10, combining a powerful kicking boot with the ability to also attack defences with ball in hand, something that has been missing with Steyn.

But Meyer cautioned that fans should not expect miracles from the youngster.

"Obviously you have to be realistic. You can't expect a 20-year-old guy to come in and win the game and score five tries," Meyer said of the young Goosen, warning against expectations that he will single-handedly turn around the Boks' fortunes.

"Obviously I'd love that but it's also a process for Johan. He has been involved from the outset and we had chats when he was injured.

"But it is great as a coach to have depth at flyhalf, even though there is a long way to go before the next World Cup."

Meyer said it was "a big call" to leave out Steyn, who had been South Africa's first-choice flyhalf since winning the 2009 series against the British and Irish Lions with a last-minute penalty - also at Loftus - and who had played 30 consecutive Tests.

He is South Africa's most capped flyhalf and second highest point-scorer behind Percy Montgomery, racking up 486 points in 41 games.

"Obviously I always said I'd do what's best for the team. The team comes first," Meyer said.

"Morné's a big champion, he took it graciously. He's put his body on the line for his country for the last three to four years, won a lot of games that we could have lost. I just feel that it's in his best interests and the team that he doesn't play."

Meyer made three changes in all to his starting team following the 21-11 loss in New Zealand two weeks ago, recalling locks Eben Etzebeth and Andries Bekker in place of Flip van der Merwe and Juandré Kruger.

Lions centre Jaco Taute is also in line for a first Test cap at Loftus Versfeld if Francois Steyn doesn’t recover from a right ankle injury by Friday, Meyer said. Prop Coenie Oosthuizen and flyhalf Elton Jantjies also come in on the bench.

The clash against the Wallabies kicks off at 17:00 on Saturday.

Teams:

South Africa:

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

Australia:

TBA

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