Bok rehab camp 'was crucial'

2011-08-18 19:35

Port Elizabeth - South Africa were made to go to rehab and hope the benefits will show against New Zealand in the Tri-Nations on Saturday before they head to the World Cup to defend their title.

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After a purple patch in 2009 when they beat the All Blacks three times in a row for the first time since 1949, the Springboks have lost their last four matches against their greatest rivals.

They have also gone down in five of their last six matches against Australia, so the heat is really on the home side in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has made five changes to the frontline team that he returned to action last weekend against Australia. Many of the top players had missed the away leg of the Tri-Nations to attend a "rehabilitation camp".

Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez said it was important now to reap the benefits.

"The rehab camp was very crucial and we've got what we wanted out of it. Oviously we want to get one over the All Blacks to give us momentum, give hope to our fans and get our confidence back," Du Preez told reporters on Thursday.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry will field an experimental line-up, with several inexperienced players in the backline but some seasoned veterans up front.

Seven frontline players - including regular captain Richie McCaw and star flyhalf Dan Carter - have been rested after the rigours of the expanded Super Rugby competition and two Tri-Nations tests.

"When they face the Springboks on Saturday, it will be an experience a lot of them have never had before. We can talk about it, but until you've experienced it, you don't know what it's like," said Henry.

"These guys will be under extreme pressure and the real test is whether they can make good decisions in that situation. While South Africa have players who have played a lot of Tests in key decision-making areas, we are inexperienced in those areas," Henry said on Thursday.

But despite Henry's concerns, New Zealand look in excellent shape for the World Cup, starting next month, having won 13 of their last 14 Tests.

The extreme pace of the All Blacks backline - and the power of centres Sonny Bill Williams and Richard Kahui - will test a Springbok defence that has been poor over the last year, although they did show improvement in last weekend's 14-9 defeat by Australia.

Flyhalf Morné Steyn, one of the heroes of their 2009 Tri-Nations triumph and series win over the British and Irish Lions, will be under pressure to add attacking spark to his reliable kicking game.

The 20-year-old Pat Lambie has been included at fullback to add pace to the Springbok backs while Bismarck du Plessis gets a start at hooker after a fine Super Rugby tournament.

Regular captain John Smit will be on the bench as speculation mounts that his international career may be nearing its end. New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu, who will lead the All Blacks on Saturday, was quick to issue a warning.

"I have a funny feeling that John Smit will be right on the button at the World Cup. There's nothing worse for a player than when people write you off and Saturday's a chance for him to stamp his mark again."


South Africa:
15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp

Substitutes: 16 John Smit, Tendai Mtawarira, CJ van der Linde, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson, Francois Hougaard, Butch James

New Zealand:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Isaia Toeava, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Cory Jane


  • StaalBurgher - 2011-08-18 20:11

    Go Bokke! Die BEE!

  • vegetarian - 2011-08-18 20:30

    News24 is becoming pathetic by the day. Why close comments on important stories and open comments on useless rugby reports?

      StaalBurgher - 2011-08-18 21:49

      Maybe the BBC bought them? Most news papers or news websites are merely mouthpieces for the party line. Although, in News24 defence the comments section has little moderation compared to its European Stasi-like media.

      Ken J May - 2011-08-18 23:11

      Veggie, nobody really hates sportsmen, or call them names, but we would all like to call the Prezzi a D%%S in the news forums but they won't allow us!!

  • Blizzbok - 2011-08-18 20:40

    Deysel for Roussow on the bench and a bit of match practise and we're good to go!

      Adaanb - 2011-08-19 04:15

      I agree 100% . Roussow cant catch ,tackle or retain the ball in the tacke-totally overated!!!

  • AK-Tshepo-47 - 2011-08-18 20:48

    stop talking .... just play rugby now.... the whole nation thinks you lot are a bunch of losers so its up to you lot to prove us wrong now..... stop talking and do what you get paid for which is winning games because we sure as hell are not paying you to lose all the games that you are losing

      pants - 2011-08-18 21:40

      better than the loosers that are Bafana Bafoona....

  • mycentswrth - 2011-08-18 20:53

    I hope they taught FDP how to pass the ball during the camp, and to play to the whistle and not hands in the "air" look ref, look ref...oops, there goes the ball!

      Neilson - 2011-08-18 21:55

      I hope you find your glasses before the next game because obviously you missed a good game. FdP played a good game, and if not for him, the referees would have screwed us even more. Did you for one second think that FdP was not correct in pointing out to the ref that he should start watching the game and stop picking his nose. By the sound if it you were imitating the referee.

      !!Vrystaat!! - 2011-08-18 22:14

      @Neilson - I watched the game and Fourie cost us a try with his hands int he air. the ball IS there he CAN take it , but he tries and get a penalty with chatting. If he played quicker we could have scored. The other time we almost got a score against us ALSO because he chats and waves, other scrumhalves just do there job , if you want to show the ref they are interfering, take the ball AND the players hand and PULL them both back. then you dont need to speak AND you have the ball.

      Mickey Fin - 2011-08-19 03:26

      @Neilson. A bit low of you suggesting someone else must find their glasses. It is obviosly you that needs to find yours. The ref was so one sided against the Wallabies it is unreal. A differant ref and the score line would have been very differant in favour of the Aussies. Hope you find your glasses before Saturday.

  • Scaramouche - 2011-08-18 21:36

    I am looking forward to see some proof of the pudding!

  • namibia24 - 2011-08-18 21:37

    Fourie Du Preez must stop kicking possesion away and he needs to concentrate on his game!!! He is getting just like Joost and George Gregan in terms of Reffereeing the game and they did not last too long after getting that nasty habit. This will not go down wel with the RWC reffs. Its not a problem if he does it close to their goal line but is quite irritating and i do not see him lookig for real opportunities whilst he is busy with the ref the whole time. Great player!! but needs a serious attitude adjustment.

      mycentswrth - 2011-08-18 22:11

      I agree and @Neilson. we loose a lot of balls behind our scrum because of FdP refereeing and another thing, take note as to how many balls he passes way above the flyhalf's head, which forces the flyhalf to slow down and strech for the ball, which then puts the centres under great pressure. Sarel Pretorius or Hougard is my choice.

      !!Vrystaat!! - 2011-08-18 22:17

      I agree. He was called the great, when he was quick and everywhere. now he is not always there (slower at rucks) and chats the whole time. he needs to go back to his old game and play RUGBY.

  • GraemeBB - 2011-08-18 23:02

    Boks to win come Saturday.

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