Pienaar to give Boks the edge

2011-07-19 21:58

J.J. Harmse

Sydney - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is excited about the positive energy in his camp ahead of Saturday's Tri-Nations Test against the Wallabies.

"I have not seen so much positive energy in our preparations for a long time. It was only the second day after our arrival, but everything worked in training today," De Villiers said on Tuesday as he announced his team.

"I know that energy can quickly wane if things don't go your way in a game, but I hope the guys can stick it out. This is a team with lots of potential."

There are 322 Tests shared between the members of the starting line-up (an average of 21 per player), but John Smit's 102 Tests skews the statistic.

De Villiers and his coaching staff are satisfied with what is happening on the training field, but between the four lines it will be up to the squad of 22 to determine the coach's mood.

"We will definitely play some rugby. The guys know what we want to achieve and will play according to a plan, but they know the freedom will be there if they want to make decisions themselves."

De Villiers emphasised the role of Ruan Pienaar in the Test match.

The Springbok scrumhalf is playing in his 48th Test and is by far the most experienced backline player, with Morné Steyn (25 caps) and Wynand Olivier (32) the only other two players who have been Test Springboks for more than one season.

"Ruan Pienaar is a natural rugby player and reads the situation better than any other player. I have a lot of confidence that his decision-making ability will pull it through for us," said De Villiers.

He also decided to pick Danie Rossouw on the flank and let Ashley Johnson make his Test debut at No 8. Last week they prepared with Rossouw at No 8 and Johnson on the flank.

"There is a reason for that," said De Villiers.

"I know Ashley played superbly for the Cheetahs at No 7, but with uncertainty about Juan Smith's fitness for the World Cup, I'm looking to Danie to fill in there if necessary.

"There has been a revival in Danie's career this year. His performance will be very important for us," De Villiers said ahead of his 40th Test as coach.

"I think Ashley could get us on the front foot from No 8."

De Villiers said that the momentum of the forward pack would determine the success of his backline selections.

The back three are a superb attacking unit.

"Our ability to bring that explosiveness of the outside backs into the game will depend on the kind of possession we get, our field position and how much momentum we have."

De Villiers nevertheless expects Bjorn Basson and Lwazi Mvovo to do their bit on defence.

"They must be prepared to work for the team and their willingness to fall back to support Gio (Aplon) will be crucial. Gio will have the confidence to do his thing if the support play is there. He won't have options if he does not get support."


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


  • Gomez - 2011-07-19 22:12

    I hope they don't wait too long to bring on Deysel as strong carrier and impact player!

      Lance - 2011-07-20 09:21

      Deysel starting and Rossouw impacting wuuld have been amazing..Danie is best when the game slows down in the second half and he can simply bulldoze everyone out the way !

      Kevin - 2011-07-20 13:29

      I'm worried for Ashley Johnson though. He might not do well at 8, as a result gets taken off with Danie moving to 8 and Deysel in at 7. This to me sounds brilliant. But then its pretti much curtains for Johnson after that, we'll never get to see this kid play in his natural position. Div needs to give Johnson a fair chance to challenge for 7.

  • BardofAvon - 2011-07-19 22:13

    Exciting stuff!

  • Creeky - 2011-07-19 22:31

    Seems like it is good enough selection... lets just hope they are going to GEL from the start! Hopefully not have a start like the Wallabies did last weekened.. Bring it on Aussie... Bring it on!!!

  • Superdude - 2011-07-19 22:57

    Yes its nice to see Ruan back, but he is up against possibly the best scrummie in the world on te weekend in Genia, so he will have his hands full. Nice to see him in the Bok Jersey again though after a great season in Ireland.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-20 07:54

      While Genia showed good form in the Super 15 I think the Crusaders managed to contain him and Cooper for most of the match, until that brilliant 65m solo effort. Genia ( and Cooper ) can be contained, it's been done before.

      Coach18 - 2011-07-20 12:47

      Ruan is a great player, i would have loved to see what Hougaard would have brought to the game though pitty to not even see him on the bench.

      Lance - 2011-07-20 16:39

      ...I believe he should be included in the RWC squad. He style of play will be an asset to any backline if injuries pop up.

  • hawk - 2011-07-19 23:01

    Drop Oupa Smith and put in Chilliboy and you have a good team

      Dev and Ilze Britton - 2011-07-20 07:40

      hmmmm....I don't see anyone name Smith in the team... Perhaps you should show some respect to the most capped Test Captain of all time and SPELL HIS NAME RIGHT you ignorant swamp donkey!!!!!! Having Chilliboy in between 2 debutant props will be like shooting fish in a barrel for the Aussies. Maybe you should think before making an ass of yourself!!!!

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-20 07:56

      "Ignorant swamp donkey" had me in stitches. Right you are, let's get behind the boys, all 22 of them, let's klap those Ozzies.

      apie - 2011-07-20 08:18

      What? Chilliboy? He is only the fourth best hooker in sa.

      Dan - 2011-07-20 08:56

      Yes, Chilliboy had an excellent season. Funny how we all fight when they shove PDI (quota) players in our teams and now that we actually have an inform black player (on merit), they bench him. Even more funny is the fact that a quota coach is benching him. Where is the sports minister now and that big mouth from the sport portfolio committee? I like the make-up of the team though. If we can start with a bang, we can do well.

      Dan - 2011-07-20 08:59

      @ Apie. Don't be an apie now, you are just stirring again. Chilliboy had a great season, even made Bismark look out of form when the Bulls played them in the league phase of the Super 15. Give the man some credit when it is due.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-20 10:38

      Don't be surprised if Chilliboy is the new captain from next year....

  • Nic - 2011-07-20 00:47

    This is a joke!! If I remember correctly, we saw how crap Pienaar and Steyn were when they played as a combination....I dont care what he did overseas, lets be honest hes only in in the team because of his dads connection to SA rugby...There are other scrummies which deserve a place in the SA team ahead of him even just to try them out. Also then, why was RP tried at flyhalf a year or 2 back? They just had to have him in the team. Maybe Gysie is paying PDiv bribes? Ive heard of bigger conspiracy theories in my life!! Managment in SA Rugby is continually feeling the pressure of outside forces that they cant make correct decisions.There is pressure to have him in the team irrespective of his form as this has been shown in the past. What is even more crazy is that players like Schalk Brits were told that they were being overlooked because 'we have enough players in SA to fill his position' (said by DIV)...yet RP has been chosen after predominantly playing most of the year overseas....this is complete double standards and I can only think its the 'my dad was Gysie Pienaar' excuse and that there is too much politics at the top thereby allowing this guy to get yet another chance. The fact is, there are too many people with the ability to have a big say in SA rugby politics when they shouldnt be able to! I hope RP proves me wrong but I think him in combination with Steyn are going to be too stagnant against Cooper/Genia. I like 1,3,4,5,67,8,10?, 11,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,22.. tho

      Hein - 2011-07-20 06:00

      @Nic: Ag shame - did your gabba miss out on selection? Which team are you selecting? Pofadder Primary under13? Take of your blinkers and learn that there are people that know what they are doing. Maak net jou boude oop op Saterdag, haal diep asem en geniet die toets.

      russell.worthington - 2011-07-20 08:32

      what a dick.

      Ruggerman - 2011-07-20 08:40

      what bristle got stuck up your arse? I have not read such a lot of drivel in a while!!!

      Dan - 2011-07-20 09:03

      I don't agree with all your sentiments, but must agree Ruan hasn't performed in a Bok team yet. Maybe the blame should go to the Sharks for trying to convert every good player into an all rounder. Make no mistake, Ruan has loads of talent. Let's just hope this time round we see it in a Bok team.

      Manus - 2011-07-20 09:27

      Ek dink steeds FdP is die beste scrummie, met Hougaardt 2de. Maar Ruan is goed en hy het 'n hele seisoen gehad om in sy beste posisie te speel. Hoop net nie hy het weer opdrag om te skop en te skop en te skop nie. O ja, en hy en Morne is toevallig 'n goeie kombinasie - van laerskool af al. Gysie, sover ek weet, is lankal uitgeskuif uit enige posisie om invloed uit te oefen. Dit is regtig belaglik om te beweer dat, in 'n professionele era, sulke sentimente soos 'my dad was Gysie Pienaar' nog sou geld - ek kan nie dink dat dit so sou wees nie.

      David - 2011-07-20 09:29

      I like RP, believe he is extremely talented. Not sure how he gets picked above Sarel Pretorious, who was by far our best 9 this year.

      Kaapie - 2011-07-20 10:02

      David I also said that about Sarel, but when one looks at his(Sarel's) defence abilities it tells a different story..

  • hardloop - 2011-07-20 01:00

    I think Div may well pull a small surprise and play Ruan as first choice scrumhalf in the Rugby World Cup. Remember how much he used to go on about how special he was as a flyhalf? Well, this season he was outstanding at his preferred position of scrumhalf for his club side up north and was just as exceptional when he had to play flyhalf. Really rate this guy hope he gets a good long run at scrumhalf alongside morne or pat, either way he'd lead the team!!!! GOOOOOOO BOKKE!

      Karoobloed - 2011-07-20 05:56

      FdP seems a little "off" this season, and Ruan Pienaar is an outstanding scrumhalf - this may well prove to be his time. However, I would not write off that plucky Francois Hougaard either.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-20 07:58

      This is the best thing that could happen to FdP - last time Ruan came a nocking FdP lifted his game, I'm sure we can all agree that his came could use a little improvement. Good move Div.

      Paul - 2011-07-20 09:02

      FdP is our best scrummie by a mile ...yes he might not have being on form in the S15 ... but he is a gamebreaker of note ... best No.9 in the world last 5 years .... I think he has been saving himself for this WC ... go out with a bang ! GO BOKKE GO !!!

  • Daniel - 2011-07-20 01:05

    The Aussies are fielding a top class team, and we playing our so called "B" team. Lets hope de Villiers knows what he is doing here, and that the team he has thrown together can make some magic.

      Lance - 2011-07-20 09:27

      Fear not Daniel..this might be a small sacrifice( a loss or two at the T3) to enjoy the benefits at the RWC when our first choice guys play. This "B team" has what it takes. At this level the hungrier team wins and depsite the Aussies coming off a loss last week, I still believe the desire to make the Bok "A" line-up will make this Bok side one to take very seriously. Many of the decisions made right now are from Rassie so lets not give poor Div too much flack if things go sour..

  • Lebogang - 2011-07-20 05:30

    Ruan is a brilliant player. The only scrummie with a potent side-step. Probably he's the most misused player in the past 4 years, ofcourse alongside our captain. I feel for these two guys. Hope they silence many critics. BOKKE!!

  • Die Stem - 2011-07-20 07:13

    If my memory serves me corectly, I believe snorre coughed up the similar drivel about Earl Rose being the "Tiger Woods off rugby!" When is this guy going to learn to say less before a match and to rather let his talking be done on the field. All that he does, is he creates unnecessary expectations which he invariably does not deliver on!

  • apie - 2011-07-20 07:15


      Lebogang - 2011-07-20 07:27

      I don't understand your claims that PdV is 'racist' whereas he has had more white players in his squad through out the past 3 years. Make no mistake, those 'white' players MOSTLY are picked solely on merit...well, that's what we all want to believe. The only racist is you, for claiming he's a racist. That race card just makes you look retarded.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-20 08:00

      Jake White had more players of colour than Div does, go figure. There would be an outcry if some like White or Meyer pulled a stunt like this.

      sasa - 2011-07-20 09:27

      You are a ape. why do you read an article about SA rugby if you dont follow SA rugby anymore. haha..

      Lance - 2011-07-20 09:30

      Apie..Rassie is the brainstrust with this Bok outift as we build up to the RWC. The public is made to believe it is Div's choices. So lets be cautious about who we want to "hire and fire".. Once we have played in the RWC we can play the blame game...lets focus on the teams we have available right now. One game at a time.

  • Phelan Wulf - 2011-07-20 07:22

    Oh great! Another hasbeen! Remind me.... just what exactly has this peanut done all season? Oh! That's right!!! Nothing what so ever! Just like his overweight and uselss skipper! Break a leg! No REALLY! I mean break a leg!

  • Marx - 2011-07-20 07:33

    Can all the "critics" and "experts" just lay down arms for one single hour, and make history by start supporting a superb Bok team!!! Hell people, this is a brilliant "B" team.

      charlesaduplessis - 2011-07-20 07:40

      Yeah well it is a B team and not a BOK team ..

      Marx - 2011-07-20 08:12

      And as soon as the "A' team is announced, it's the same old story again, shouldn't you support our team, no matter what ??

      Ian - 2011-07-20 08:37

      Well said Marx.... can't help but think that this team will do better than the so called A team.... look at how that under strength Stormers team came back to beat the Blues in Auckland..... sometimes the strongest team we have performs like a B team, we can't win every game unfortunatley.... these guys are not happy being seen as 2nd best and will want to prove big time on Saturday.... either way if you're a "true" south african you should believe in them and support them, if not well then move to the flats in Cape Town and support the crusaders and all blacks.....

      Lance - 2011-07-20 16:47

      Agreed @ Marx. The only downfall is if we see 15 individuals playing their own game on Saturday with the only focus on catching the eye of selectors...A loss will be guaranteed....cause nobody will be passing.

  • capetonian - 2011-07-20 08:24

    Love the optimism! It will only happen if the forwards are on the front foot for most of the game. And seeing that most do not have the experience of playing test matches together I think the final scoreline will reflect a 15 to 20 points difference with the Wallabies scoring at least two to three tries. Why play a full Wallaby line-up? The Reds could do the job....For the amount of support our players get looking at attendance figures (Cape Town averages over 40000 a home Super 15 match) the rugby dished up is mostly dissappointing. We could do with an injection of NZ coaching - the final between the Reds and the Crusaders was what rugby should be about!!

  • IanKlopps - 2011-07-20 08:30

    I like the backline. I just hope the forwards are strong enough to get us enough ball and to keep us from going backwards.

      Gerhard09 - 2011-07-20 10:37

      So lank as wat John Smit nie stut speel nie sal die voorspelers hou. Bring Chilly Boy net vroeg genoeg op en daar is perde.

  • ECS - 2011-07-20 08:52

    South Africa has a wealth of players unlike anywhere else in the world. All we need from our squad is for them to work together on the field on match day. The talent alone is enough to win ant game! South Africa - We Are Rugby!!

      ECS - 2011-07-20 08:53


  • Dan - 2011-07-20 08:53

    Just for once I want the Boks to play full out instinctive rugby from the back. The wings and full back are all pathetic kickers, so in heaven's name - run the ball. Aplon can be dangerous from any field position, especially when he has room at the back after kicks into our half. The support play must just be there.

  • PCDP - 2011-07-20 09:04

    I would have started with Charl and have Sarel on the bench. Pienaar has no place there for me, but yet I wise for a good game.

  • Carl Muller - 2011-07-20 09:16

    Ruan, jy het nou jou kans, gebruik dit baie goed..... Bulls forever...

  • Lance - 2011-07-20 09:33

    Great backline..the only kink in our armour is Olivier...and then Jacobs when if he replaces Olivier..Otherwise this abckline is a percentage point or two below our "A side" at most.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-20 10:41

      Olivier just needs to learn to pass, he's inside break let's him down time and time again.

      Lance - 2011-07-20 11:43

      @ Rob...and maybe any form of side-step from him could improve his game too.Im sure the quality of the rest of the backs will carry them through (if he passes !)

      Dan - 2011-07-20 12:06

      Maybe you guys are ignoring the fact that Olivier plays according to a certain game plan. It has been an illness in our rugby for many years. Go and look at all the centres before him since our readmission into International rugby.

      Marx - 2011-07-20 13:02

      Jaaaaaa, Olivier never pass the ball, yet the wings on his outside are the top try scorers, and Wynand the top try scorer(Centre) in S15. Have any of you ever had the thought of maybe the game plan sometimes doesn't apply to passing the ball everytime you recieve it, any poepol can pass a ball, but passing a ball to the guy next to you and putting him under pressure and the team on the back foot doesn't make sense nè. The defensive structures in the top teams have improved a lot over the years, you have to build fases, suck in defenders and then when the opportunity arises, spread the ball to the wings, that's why Wynand breaks to the inside or they use him as to run in at an angle to suck in defenders.

      Lance - 2011-07-20 14:45

      @ Marx..Wynand isnt a bad player, he just simply isnt a brilliant player either when considering the quality of our centres at Bok level.The point of this thread is that he is the weakest link when compared with the rest of the current Bok backline. You sound like a Bull supporter so fair enough if thats your opinion (Im not a Bulls supporter so havent takent note of his try stats...great if he has finding some much welcome form)

  • BlouBos - 2011-07-20 10:01

    Ruan reminds me of Gaffie du Toit and Brent Russel. They were brilliant all-round utility players that can do job anywhere were they are needed. But to be all-round player turns out to be there weak point because they never got the opportunity and the confidence to settle in one potion. And because of there lack of confidence thy never successfully made the transition to be regulars in International rugby.

  • Sniffels - 2011-07-20 12:43

    I just dont like the idea of Ruan Pienaar in the squad... Rather bring Hougaard in

      Lance - 2011-07-21 09:55

      Hougaard is good and I sure he would be great but for world cups they always play it conservatively and go with cooler heads with the most experience. Hougaard will be part of the Bok future...feart not.

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