Cape Town - Rudy Paige and Morne Steyn’s familiarity with the conditions at Loftus Versfeld will come in handy for the Springboks against the Wallabies on Saturday, SA coach Allister Coetzee believes.
Paige and Steyn have been picked as the halfback combination in place of Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test.
Paige is the current Bulls scrumhalf and Steyn represented the franchise during a successful spell between 2003 and 2013.
“I don’t think they’ve played a lot together. When Rudy Paige joined the Bulls, Morne might have left already, so that’s not the issue, the issue for me is our plan, and executing our plan. It’s gone well at training this week, so I’m really happy for both of them for (getting) the opportunity,” Coetzee said on SuperSport Blitz after naming his team on Thursday.
“Morne has been coming along for a very long time, he’s been in and out of the Springbok squad, but this shows the character of the player who’s always been there, trying to improve, trying to get it right and trying to get back into the team and he’s done that. I wish him well and I know he’ll have a good game on Saturday.”
The new selections at halfback do however not mean that the Boks will adopt a kick-at-all costs approach, Coetzee stressed.
“The big concern is the territory battle that we haven’t dominated. And if you don’t dominate territory, you won’t get set-piece in the opposition’s half and you won’t be able to then put scoreboard pressure (on the opposition) - because it’s where you score tries from," said Coetzee.
“Territory is always important, but I don’t want to send a message that we’re just going to kick and chase. That’s not the message. If you look at how we’ve attacked from lineouts... it’s been really good and impressive and I would like to get lineouts closer and into the opposition’s half from where we could be effective to put (on) scoreboard pressure."
Saturday’s Test at Loftus Versfeld is scheduled for 17:05.
15 Pat Lambie, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Willie le Roux
15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes (from): 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Tevita Kuridrani, 24 Sefa Naivalu