Rugby Championship

Why Meyer gave Steyn the boot

2014-09-10 10:25
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Wellington - South Africa will field fledgling international flyhalf Handré Pollard against New Zealand in the only change to their line-up for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash.

Pollard, with only three Tests under his belt, has been thrust into the crucial game-maker role ahead of the veteran Morné Steyn who was omitted from the squad altogether.

Coach Heyneke Meyer admitted the move would surprise some Springbok fans, but said he wanted to blood Pollard in a high-pressure game ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup, predicting the 20-year-old could be "a big force" at the tournament.

He also said Pollard's selection was unconventional and might wrong-foot the All Blacks, a team he described as the pace-setters of world rugby.

"It is a big call but if we don't do it now we're never going to know what he can do and I think this is the right game to do it," Meyer told reporters.

"He's a different type of player and you need something different if you're going to beat New Zealand. I don't think you're going to beat the All Blacks if you just do the conventional."

Meyer praised Steyn, 30, who has scored more points (31) than any other South African against the All Blacks, as "a great kicking flyhalf" but said Pollard's inclusion was about adding depth to the squad.

Steyn's omission was the only change in the side that was beaten narrowly 24-23 by Australia last week.

"It's also good for continuity to have an almost unchanged side. We know where we made mistakes last weekend and the players now have an opportunity to rectify those against the toughest opponent in world rugby," Meyer said.

Saturday's game at Westpac Stadium kicks off at 09:35 (SA time) on Saturday.

Teams:

New Zealand:

TBA

South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 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 Lood de Jager, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Damian de Allende

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