Meyer aims for continuity
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
See pics of the Springboks open training session in Nelspruit.
Hazyview - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has opted for continuity, making only two forced changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s match against Scotland in Nelspruit.
Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar will receive a starting berth, replacing the injured Jano Vermaak, while openside flanker Marcell Coetzee will replace Francois Louw, who is getting married this weekend.
“I want to keep some form of continuity and I thought we played some of the best rugby we’ve played in quite some time,” Meyer said after naming his team on Wednesday.
GALLERY: Match-ups - Boks v Scotland
“There is no use in getting those new caps in, and they’ve done well, then take them out after just one game.
“I especially want to keep continuity in the backline because I thought they played well.”
Meyer made three more changes to his starting 23, from the side that beat Italy in Durban last week, and hooker Bismarck du Plessis could make his return to the field from the bench, after an absence of 10 months from first-class rugby due to a knee ligament injury.
“He is a warrior, so the plan is to bring him in from the bench,” Meyer said.
“The medical team is 100 percent sure that he can last for 80 minutes if he needs to, so I am happy to have him back.”
The Sharks hooker will be joined on the bench by the uncapped duo of loose forward Siya Kolisi and backup scrumhalf Piet van Zyl.
Du Plessis’ return to the team comes at the cost of Chiliboy Ralepelle, who has hardly put a foot out of place this year.
“There is a lot of talent out there but the challenge is to pick the right mix and to get the balance between great attacking rugby and defence,” Meyer said.
“It is great for Siya. He’s always been part of the plans but he had that unfortunate injury last year and suddenly he’s playing his best rugby.
“We have to look at those youngsters under pressure. They are the future of this team and it is great to see them coming into the side.”
Meyer said the Springboks would respect Scotland this weekend, despite the tourists suffering a spate of injuries and going down in a defeat to Samoa last week in the four-nation series.
“I never expect to beat the opponent. You still have to put in the hard work and it is still Test rugby,” he said.
“There is little difference between the teams and what happened the previous week doesn’t concern me.
“I thought we played some great rugby but we are far from our best and we need to improve our game.”
15. Willie le Roux, 14. Bryan Habana, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Arno Botha, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Flip van der Merwe, 20. Siya Kolisi, 21. Piet van Zyl, 22. Pat Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein