Div's charges ready for Aussies
Durban - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said his team was ready for Saturday’s Tri-Nations clash against Australia in Durban after making 13 changes to his team.
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De Villiers on Thursday recalled all of his most senior players that were available, in a complete overhaul to the team that ran out against New Zealand in Wellington two weeks ago.
Amongst the most notable inclusions were the return of scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and flanker Heinrich Brüssow for the first time in 21 months, while Butch James was named at flyhalf in another surprise move.
There was also place for John Smit at hooker - the captain being one of two survivors from the 40-7 loss to the All Blacks along with Danie Rossouw - while Frans Steyn was selected at fullback.
"It's great to have Fourie and Heinrich back," said De Villiers.
"Aside from bringing comfort to the guys around them, they are world-class players.
"They bring a kind of element that we've missed in the last year and I'm looking forward to them slotting in as quick as possible.
"They know the responsibility that's on their shoulders, the pressure is mounting on them, but we know they can handle the pressure."
Du Preez missed the 2010 international season because of a shoulder operation and Brüssow was ruled out by a knee ligament injury.
"They were two of the leading players in world rugby when they last played in 2009, and they contributed a lot to Springbok success that season.
"This is the first step back for them, but we're looking to them to have the same impact in due course."
Rossouw (illness) and fellow loose forward Pierre Spies (groin) both came through fitness tests after missing training earlier in the week.
On the bench, three players who played at the Westpac Stadium survived -Jean Deysel, Gerhard Mostert and Morné Steyn.
The team will be the most experienced Springbok side in history with 810 caps, although most of the players have played no rugby over the past five to seven weeks.
"Most of the guys have proved themselves on the world stage already," said De Villiers.
"They might struggle the first 15 to 20 minutes, but then after that I believe their natural talent will kick in again."
He urged the country to forget what had happened during the recent trip to Australasia, where they were also well beaten by the Wallabies.
"What happened in the past wasn't good for our country and wasn't good for us, but we leave that in the past," he said.
"Our focus now is solely on Saturday's game.
"We want to again be the respected team we were two seasons ago and I think that alone is enough motivation in itself."
Meanwhile, skipper Smit will be bidding farewell to his home ground of Kings Park on Saturday when he runs out for his 105th Test in a Springbok jersey.
Du Preez who will win his 56th cap, played down the hype surrounding his return along with that of Brüssow.
"I think the expectations on us is unfair, but we'll go out and do our best and hopefully we can go out and help the team do a little better than last year," said Du Preez.
"But it won't be because we are back, but because everyone wants the team to be on top again."
15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Gio Aplon
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (captain), 5 James Horwill, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Substitutes: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Maafu, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Radike Samo, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Anthony Faingaa