Rugby World Cup 2011
SA to target Samoan set pieces
Pierre Spies (File)
Taupo - The Springboks have hinted they will target the Samoan set pieces when they clash in their final Pool D game at North Harbour Stadium on Friday.
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Up front, Bok coach Peter de Villiers has opted for an all new front row - backed-up by three front-rowers on the bench - and the added skills lock Victor Matfield will bring to the South African lineouts.
Matfield is returning from a hamstring injury to captain the side after missing out on their previous two matches.
"It is really a great privilege. It is a really important game for us so hopefully we can go out there and be very successful," said Matfield, who will be captaining a World Cup side for the first time.
"I think if you play any of the island teams, set pieces are very important. I think if you give them too much ball they are very dangerous, so that is one thing we are definitely focusing on."
He takes over the captain’s arm band from John Smit.
Bok eighthman, Pierre Spies, also hinted where they will aim to target the Samoans.
"We are focusing on the set pieces and believe we can take them on in that area. The same applies at the breakdown. We'll have to exert pressure there," Spies told Die Burger newspaper.
The burly No 8 is nevertheless wary of the threat the Samoans could pose.
"They still have physical players, good skills, and if you add a good game plan to that, then Samoa are a dangerous team," said Spies.
De Villiers gave an indication that the team announced on Tuesday is more or less the one he would look to field for the remainder of the tournament.
"It is now the first time since our first game that we had the privilege to select a team from, at this moment, 29 fit players," said De Villiers.
"We always knew that this will be the players that will be in the mix, starting or on the bench. It is just to get the right blend."
Another important decision was to keep utility back Frans Steyn at the centre position he occupied in South Africa's winning World Cup team.
This means that Jean de Villiers is expected to make his return from injury from the bench.
"A guy like Frans (Steyn) deserved another chance. He actually played very well and if you look at the Namibian game he was the only player who took us over the gain-line in the first half when things didn’t go too well."
Further changes to the Springbok backline include the return of Fourie du Preez at scrumhalf, while JP Pietersen was selected to wear the number 14 jersey ahead of Gio Aplon.
De Villiers said it was a big boost to have a man of Matfield’s experience back in the second row for this match.
15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 John Smit, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Jean de Villiers
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