Smit warns Bok debutants
Sydney - John Smit is warning his inexperienced Springboks line-up to be wary of an Australian squad desperate to rebound quickly from a humiliating loss to Samoa when the Tri-Nations tournament kicks off on Saturday.
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers selected props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger and backrower Ashley Johnson to make their run-on test debuts against Australia in Sydney, and has included uncapped scrumhalf Charl McLeod on the bench.
Greyling and Kruger will start on either side of captain and 103-Test veteran Smit in the front row.
Only two months out from the World Cup, defending champion South Africa is missing a host of regular starters due to injuries but has a smattering of experienced players. Lock Johann Muller overcame a hamstring injury and is one of five World Cup winners in the starting lineup, while halves Ruan Pienaar and Morne Steyn and center Wynand Oliver form the basis of the backline.
"The new caps had outstanding Super Rugby seasons and this is an exciting opportunity for them," De Villiers said. "They have been rewarded for their form and now it's up to them.
"We have got some new combinations, but there is a lot of potential in this side and the players are hungry for this chance."
Smit said the Wallabies would be wanting to make a point against South Africa at the same ground where they lost last week to Samoa for the first time ever, a defeat which cost them the No 2 world ranking.
"I suppose it's not probably the best result for us," Smit said on Tuesday. "There's certainly no chance of us catching them unmotivated right now. They'll be pretty motivated to turn things around."
Smit said his props for the weekend wouldn't be intimidated by the Australians.
"They'll be nervous and I'm pretty sure Australia will want to have a crack at them as well up front," he said. "I'm sure they'll understand that but the boys have stepped up every week in Super 15 so I can't see it being any different in a test match."
The Samoans outmuscled a below-strength Australian lineup at the breakdown and contact zones, forcing turnovers. But with four more of the stars of the Reds Super 15-winning team recalled to Australia's starting lineup after a week off, De Villiers isn't likely to employ an identical gameplan.
"They won't be undercooked against us. We know that," De Villiers said. "Genia and Cooper is a hell of a danger ... there's a lot of dangers in the Wallabies side.
"If you've got the ball, you don't have to target the breakdown. So we will try to hold onto our ball, our possession, and then we don't need to flood the breakdowns."Teams
Springboks: 15 Gio Aplon, 14
Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10
Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon
Stegmann, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John
Smit, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ
van der Linde, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod,
21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie
Wallabies: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat
McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman,
7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben
Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu
Substitutes: 16 Saia
Faingaa, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Scott
Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Anthony Faingaa