Rugby Championship

Heyneke's kicking game poser

2014-10-01 17:00
Johan van Graan and Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The manner in which the Springboks deal with New Zealand's kicking game, could be the difference between winning and losing in their final 2014 Rugby Championship clash at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, coach Heyneke Meyer said.

"If you want to beat the All Blacks you have to be able to deal with their kicking game and they have by far the best kicking game in the world," Meyer said at the team announcement on Wednesday.

"They will pose a different challenge, Australia keeps the ball in hand, we know exactly what they are going to do and they know what we are going to do."

"It is all about execution, discipline and the main thing would be to have no soft moments and use every single opportunity."

Meyer has given eighthman Duane Vermeulen time to fully recover from a rib cartilage injury before making a final call at Friday's captain's run.

"The battle of the loose forwards has been the difference between winning and losing, and Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Willem Alberts have been the established loose trio. As a combination I thought they were world class," Meyer said.

"It was tough to lose the other two and to lose Duane would be a huge setback for us, but we've given him as much time as possible.

"He's [Vermeulen] been brilliant this year, he's a warrior, so I am quite positive that he will be ready."

Should Vermeulen not recover in time to face New Zealand, Schalk Burger will start in the number eight jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.

If he is cleared to play, with the rotational inclusion of hooker Bismarck du Plessis at the expense of Adriaan Strauss, it will be the only change to the team that beat Australia by 28-10 in Cape Town last weekend.

"Adriaan is probably playing the best rugby of his career, he's been awesome. Bismarck has been playing a lot of rugby this year, and it was always the plan to rest him," Meyer explained.

"He was brilliant coming off the bench this weekend, but for this Test it is pure rotation with Bismarck starting."

The match will be Springbok captain Jean de Villiers' 50th appearance in the Rugby Championship, the most by any South African.

In the corresponding fixture last year, the Boks were still in with a shout to claim the title for the first time since 2009 when they had to score a four-try victory and had to keep the All Blacks from claiming a bonus point.

While the title is no longer up for grabs, the Springboks under Meyer are yet to score their first victory over the reigning world champions.

Meyer said although this weekend's Test did not promise the same spoils compared to last year's match, there was still plenty on the line.

"We've got a proud record at home and we always score tries, so we really want to go out there and play attractive rugby," he said.

"There is a lot less pressure, we just want to go out there and win, in saying that, we have to be unbelievably clinical and execute every single play.

"We have to have an all-round game and play the right type of game plan... it will be a tough battle."


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 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

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

New Zealand


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