Cape Town - Springbok wing Francois Hougaard will have no problem dealing with Australia’s big outside backs, SA coach Allister Coetzee believes.
Hougaard, who can also play scrumhalf, was once again picked on the wing for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test at Loftus Versfeld.
The Wallabies boast some big, physical players out wide, with the likes of wing Dane Haylett-Petty, centre Samu Kerevi and fullback Israel Folau all in the region of 100kg and more.
Hougaard, at 1.79m and just over 90kg, is a bit smaller but won’t stand back against any physical onslaught, his coach stressed.
“That’s where he will be at his best. And you know why... because his contact skills are second to none. He’s been very physical in the tackle and he contests for the ball,” Coetzee said on SuperSport Blitz after naming his team on Thursday.
Coetzee credited Hougaard’s experiences at the Springbok Sevens side for his physical prowess in the contact situation.
“A phase-play team (like Australia), once they get ball on a platter and it goes like at the training session… easy free ball… then obviously that is a problem and that is where Hougie is great. It’s one of his strengths," said Coetzee.
“It’s a skill that they improved with him at sevens… where you contest on that one-on-one and you slow ball down if you can’t turn it over. So he’ll be fine there.”
Saturday’s clash 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