New-look Ashley ready for Oz

2011-07-20 07:30

J.J. Harmse

Sydney - Ashley Johnson admitted at his first media conference as a Test Springbok that it's quite intimidating to prepare yourself for a match in the Cheetahs' dressing room in Bloemfontein.

"There, next to your number and jersey, are the names of all the players who played in that jersey before you. In my last few games for the Cheetahs I have had to step into the shoes of guys like André Venter, Rassie Erasmus and Juan Smith. You can't do anything else than lift your game," says the 25-year-old loose forward as he looks you straight in the eye.

His eyes are clearly visible because scissors have been applied to his mop of hair.

"I just decided that it's time for a haircut. It had nothing to do with being picked for the Boks. It was just time," says Johnson.

He will be making his Test debut on Saturday after defeats in tour matches against the Leicester Tigers and Saracens on the 2009 end-of-season tour.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers never lost faith in the skilful player.

"Ashley is a classic No 8 for me. He can get over the advantage line with his driving play and take you forward, and then he forms the ideal link between forwards and backs," De Villiers explained the selection.

However, there have been a number of dark clouds since those bright moments at Welford Road (Leicester) and Wembley Stadium (London).

"I had to ask questions of myself because Coach Naka (Drotské) was completely right in his assessment that I was too inconsistent to start every Super Rugby match for the Cheetahs," said Johnson.

"I had to go and work harder and that is why it's a good feeling to be here now. Saturday will be a special day and it will require a special effort.

"Danie (Rossouw) and Deon (Stegmann) know Test rugby and I just have to fall in if we want to make the combination work. I have played some good rugby of late for the Cheetahs, but you really feel good upon returning to the change room and realising that it's the standard when you see those names."

Meanwhile, two members of the Springbok touring team of 1981, Flip van der Merwe and Gysie Pienaar, have sons in Saturday's Test, with Flip (jr.) and Ruan playing lock and scrumhalf respectively.

Johnson, however, has every right to be equally proud of his father, Archie.

Archie Johnson was a top-notch tighthead prop for the SA Federation team (SA Proteas) and may have been a Springbok in a different era.

Johnson (Sr.) played for the Federation team from 1984 until 1990. He played against England in 1984 and against the South Sea Barbarians in 1988.


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

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


  • docraven - 2011-07-20 07:53

    Hope Ashley has a great game!

      Gazza69 - 2011-07-20 08:33

      Ashley has had a great season.......hope he continues on Saturday!! Go Bokke!

      RL - 2011-07-20 08:43

      @gilbert - i'll assume you're smarter than your comment suggests ...

      boyd.lance - 2011-07-20 09:05

      @Gillbert - racism of the highest order pal...check yourself!

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-20 09:10

      Gillbert, that comment is uncalled for................Most clowns are better looking than well, this clown.

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:17

      Boswell wil hom nie eers n job gee nie want hy maak die kinders bang

      BlouBos - 2011-07-20 10:11

      Ashley is surely a good player and he deserves an opportunity, but please ask him to use a smaller hairdryer instead of a blower fan to dry his hair.

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-20 10:12

      Agent, hy maak die kinders bang en dis makliker om n bobbejaan toertjies te leer.

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 10:24

      Dozer dit is feite,kyk net hoe mooi het die jeugliga n sekere persoon geleer

      theunsvw - 2011-07-20 12:30

      Good luck Ashley, it shows hard work is rewarded, so by the way, on the field it's not so much the looks that counts but the man...and I know you are the man...! We are going to see more of you in Springbok colours I'm sure..!

      Manus - 2011-07-20 12:50

      I also wish him a fantastic game, but I wouldn't comment on his looks by saying that, with a red nose added, he'd look like a clown - some humourless, confused soul might just mistake this kind of reference to his hairstyle for racism. Grow up!

      RL - 2011-07-20 13:10

      because if you put a red nose on any other human they wouldnt look like a clown? superb grasp of the obvious. superior afrikaaner wit wins everytime ...

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-20 14:40

      RL, pok terug na die Mannenberg waar jy hoort.

      RL - 2011-07-20 15:46

      net as jy die datsun met papsak vol laai en saam kom ou baas ... i'll even sit at the back just like the good old days.

  • manuel28 - 2011-07-20 07:56

    behind you johnson, u earned it! bokke!!!!!!!!!!

      Scaramouche - 2011-07-20 10:47

      Absolutely!! Did not knwow about his dad, sure his old man will be very proud on Saturday! GO ASHLEY!!

  • MB1810 - 2011-07-20 08:07

    Good luck to him, I've always had the feeling that he dissapears against good opposition, but his form in the S15 was really good, now he just has to prove the selectors right by being fantastic.

  • Colin - 2011-07-20 08:09

    jy verdien dit Ash!!!! ek glo jy gan n YSTER game hê. alle sterkte my maat!!!

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:18

      Ek verdien dit ook ,hoekom is ek nie gekies nie?

      Scaramouche - 2011-07-20 10:48

      It is because you are a green agent...

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 10:50

      Nah,thats not it,must be something else

      Whoosa - 2011-07-20 15:26

      because your a d@@s agent

  • Kok - 2011-07-20 08:17

    Once again way too much talking before matchday. Aussies by 19.

      SuperTrooper - 2011-07-20 08:29

      Kok you Asshole, maybe think of replacing the "o" in your name with an "a"!!! The sheep-shaggers have a weak defensive centre-pair, I hope our boys can bash through and make them pay!! GO BOKKE!!

      wawawa - 2011-07-20 08:30

      I'd be concentrating on fiji if i were you! Oh and dont choke

      AjAxxxx - 2011-07-20 08:40

      haha. kok. what are you actually talking about. NZ are the biggest chokers in world rugby. Yes youve been number 1 for prob 70% of the time, but no one remembers that. And you will choke again in this world cup. JUST because its on home soil. Im going to sit with my beer and enjoy watching France forward pass you out of the world cup.

      jk - 2011-07-20 08:45

      relax kokkie-maybe 6?

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:00

      Mr Khoisan X get a life

      jk - 2011-07-20 09:09

      Lance - 2011-07-20 09:09

      This Australian "A team" will have a very close team against this Bok "B team"...sure Aus might win it by a whisker...If they dont they will get seriously hamered by our first choice Bok players.

      Kok - 2011-07-20 09:16

      @Lance: It is your A team that will be playing on Saturday. Those other who are "injured" are the Springbok Veterans.

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:20

      Kok het jy nie n Nama dans om erens te gaan uitvoer nie?

      Sarge - 2011-07-20 09:25


      Lance - 2011-07-20 11:39

      @Kok...For once you know your oats. :-) Many of our "A" Boks might be veterans..but as we all know experience ("vetarans") wins world cups..

  • Tiaan Brand - 2011-07-20 08:24

    Way to go Ash, hoop jy het n groot game en dat julle die een wen vir ons, Ons staan agter julle.

  • Tools1 - 2011-07-20 08:31

    Just CJ on the bench, I know John offers back up on both sides of the scum but cant help fealing we need another specialist prop on the bench. Go Bokke!!!!!!

  • jk - 2011-07-20 08:45

    goodluck bossiekop- stay there, you much better than bicep spies...

      Louw - 2011-07-20 09:10

      Spies wie ?

      Kok - 2011-07-20 09:18

      bossiekop??!!!!! Why must you always comment off the topic and insult people????

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:22

      Kokkie,sal jy beter voel as ons se afroman?

      jk - 2011-07-20 09:32


      BlouBos - 2011-07-22 08:38

      Hoe stop mens 'n "Beast" wat op jou afstorm, met 'n "Spies" natuurlik.

  • Weezychest - 2011-07-20 08:59

    HAHAHAHA If this is whats going out there, we have no chance. What a bunch of polookas picked this 15 man team. This isnt a warm up match against Namibia. Im South African and a springbok supporter, but this is a joke.

      jk - 2011-07-20 09:09

      what you on about mate, its a allright side..

      David - 2011-07-20 09:10

      Oh? And who would you have selected?

      boyd.lance - 2011-07-20 09:11

      How's about you reserve comment until after Saturday's match? Perhaps then there'll be something more constructive in what you have to say...

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-20 09:12

      With that nickname are you perhaps Joel Stransky?

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:17

      More Dozer,ek sien ons het weer n paar spesiale gaste op News24 vandag(spesiaal soos in skool)

      Voorvel - 2011-07-20 09:23

      Ou Stinkasem Wheezychest.- with you around there is no hope. We gonna nail the Oz. Danie the Terminator will pull us through. Be positive, poepol!!

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-20 10:13

      Dis soos Sondag in die kerk as daar n doop is.....altyd nuwe gesigte.

      Weezychest - 2011-07-20 10:18

      C'mon this is hardly a strong team. We are playing the Australians here and not Namibia. On paper our team have very little experiance. These are definetly not the best players in the squad. They should be called the transformation 15. Say what you like, but Justin Bieber has nore talent.

  • Voorvel - 2011-07-20 09:12

    What a booykie! Gaan groot, my maat. Jy het 'n moerse toekoms. Nail die kango shaggers!

  • Carl Muller - 2011-07-20 09:16

    Ashley jy is 'n yster, baie geluk en alles van die beste.... Ten minste weet ons jy sal nie gaan le nie.... Bulls forever...

  • Phelan Wulf - 2011-07-20 09:17

    This is your chance to shine Ashley! I cannot think of another player who deserves his chance more than you. So well done! Unfortunatly, you are on a hiding to nothing because of the terrible selections around you. JS, RP to be specific. They ARE going to cost you the game.

  • hawksnr - 2011-07-20 09:19

    Ashley, nou kan almal sien hoe netjies jy is, daai nuwe haarstyl lyk goed, welgedaan. En wys almal jy kan die verskil maak, go for it!

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 09:27

      Bwahahahahahahahahaha lyk goed bawawawawaw,ek huil sommer

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-20 10:14

      Dit lyk goed? Wat? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 10:23

      Beter as Schalk en Parkbench

  • Wow! - 2011-07-20 09:34

    Go Ashley - you certainly can do it. Just need a good game and you are there.

  • Antwarn - 2011-07-20 10:01

    All the best!! But geezzz, I know men are no ugly as per se but this oak is the ugliest springbok ever! JOKES!

  • Jenny - 2011-07-20 10:09

    Would rather have Pat Lambie at 12 and put Wynand on the bench

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-20 10:22

      I would rather have you warming my leg than my wife

      BlouBos - 2011-07-22 08:43

      Jenny how old are you - suppose old enough to date Baby face and not uncle Wynand.

  • red - 2011-07-20 11:46

    Wouldv preferred seeing Ebersohn twins at 12 and 10 Morne is good for tight, conservative Final games , like the World Cup. This Saturday, Wallabys are gonna have some fun , esp Quade, Beale and Digby. So I would rather have a more enterprising 10,12,13 Combo. Imagine Ebersohn twins with Mvovo on the outside = magic !

  • red - 2011-07-20 13:10

    Where's Coenie Oosthuizen ?? Wallabies 10-15 is goint to demolish us !! , they gona run circles around the poor defence of Bjorn,Wynand, Juan and Morne. Hope Rassie has this planned out.

      Lance - 2011-07-20 16:36

      ...rather try them out now than at the RWC..If they fail atleast we know which of thes players can then look forward to an exciting career at "Currie Cup level".

  • !!Vrystaat!! - 2011-07-20 14:40

    Baie sterkte, jy verdien dit werklik !

  • Patrick - 2011-07-20 17:09

    Love all the positve comments As for the negative comments.... sometimes it is better to keep your thought to yourselves. Say things that make sense, dont just write something on here to see your comment come up What does amuse me is on the right of the page, Vote Wallabies at 6%, smart money is on them to win the Tri Nations. They have a quality squad and wont be resting players like SA and the AB's

  • Vaunski - 2011-07-20 20:27

    I'm going to miss the mop. It was like he put his head in the microwave for 20 seconds.

  • joe joe - 2011-07-21 15:07

    from nik naks man to springbok ...go for dem show dem

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