Rugby Championship

Wallabies brace for Louw impact

2017-09-30 13:36
Francois Louw (Gallo)

Bloemfontein - One of the biggest talking points in the build-up to Saturday's Rugby Championship clash between the Springboks and Australia in Bloemfontein has been the return of Francois Louw.

The 32-year-old will make his first Test appearance of the year after coming in for the injured Jaco Kriel, and both coach Allister Coetzee and captain Eben Etzebeth spoke this week about the benefit of having Louw's experience ahead of what is a massive clash for the Boks. 

Having been hammered 57-0 in Albany by the All Blacks two weekends ago, the Springboks need a result and a performance to suggest that they are still on the right track. 

Louw was open this week in his feeling that he and Kriel brought different qualities to the No 6 jersey, but Wallabies captain Michael Hooper seems to think that the two players are very similar. 

"We know he will be a heavy presence at the breakdown," Hooper said from Free State Stadium on Friday.

"Having played him in recent years he’s been really good over the ball. He’s in good form, as always.

"Kriel also played over the ball in Perth so it’s not looking too much different but we do know what he’ll bring and there’s a lot of quality around the breakdown."

Louw said that he felt "partly responsible" for the hiding the Boks took in Albany, even though he was not part of the squad at the time. 

"I've been a part of the Boks every year since 2010 and it was a difficult week," he said. 

"The guys are hurting, and that's a good thing. It shows they care.

"We recognise the responsibility that is bestowed on us as Springbok players and we recognise the need to get wins, especially in the next two games coming up."

The Boks and the Wallabies drew 23-23 when they met in Perth earlier this month, and Hooper acknowledged that there was "unfinished business" between the sides.

"What makes a good game is that there’s a lot to play for and it seems that every Test match these days, there is a lot to play for, particularly between these two teams," Hooper said.

"I’m excited for them (Boks) to bring it."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Francois Louw, 6, Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes (from): 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Ned Hanigan, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi, 24 Henry Speight

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