Rugby Championship

Boks set to get rare dry Test

2014-09-26 13:03
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer may find a wonderful ally in dry weather as South Africa attempt to return to winning ways in Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies at Newlands.

The Boks are still hurting from recent back-to-back defeats against Australia and New Zealand in Australasia where both matches were played in wet weather.

These two defeats highlighted the need for the Boks to master rainy conditions, which will not come into play on Saturday because the weekend forecast is dry weather.

"I'm very happy with the week training-wise, and hopefully it's a dry field. We haven't played on a dry field for some time and that will allow us to show what we can do on attack," Meyer said.

"We still have to adapt to playing in wet conditions. The one thing that came out in these two Tests was that if we want to win the World Cup in the UK next year we must learn to play in wet conditions.

"It was an eye-opener that we came so close in both games, but we didn't execute, which was frustrating, especially against New Zealand."

Meyer has stressed his intention to attack and has been scathing of his team's tactical kicking efforts in recent outings.

"We really want a great performance and, believe it or not, attacking-wise we have really improved," Meyer said.

"Three of our four (Rugby Championship) games were in the wet and we couldn't really move the ball around.

"I know Australia love to attack, and we really want to go out there and attack too, so I think it is going to be a great game to watch."

Apart from flyhalf Handre Pollard, the Boks do not have any reliable kicking options, and fullback Willie le Roux has yet to prove his worth as a field kicker on the international stage.

"If we kick, and we don't really want to kick, we have to kick more contestables, which is where the All Blacks totally out-kicked us," Meyer said.

"They kicked more than us, but they kick intelligently. So, we have to play a more all-round game, and execute better at home."

Starting scrumhalf Francois Hougaard will be key to sparking attacks from first-phase possession and Pollard has shown great touches as a distributor.

Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie said his side was looking to boss the Boks at set-piece time.

"Set-pieces are always an important focus for us, even more so when you play South Africa," McKenzie said.

"We realise the outcome of the scrums and lineouts will be vital to the final result.

"The Springboks always rise to another level when playing at home and we are under no illusions as to the challenges ahead."

Australia will be looking to overturn a string of losses at the Newlands Stadium, where their last victory was a 26-3 win in 1992.

McKenzie, a former prop, was part of that victorious Wallaby side, and it will be a great personal achievement if he can end the Aussies' 22-year Cape Town jinx.

In the corresponding fixture last year, the Boks ran out convincing 28-8 winners.


South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen


15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.

Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nic White, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Rob Horne


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