Peter de Villiers has lauded the experience factor that continues to grow within his South Africa side as they look to seal the Tri-Nations title with victory over Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Springbok coach yesterday made just one change to his starting line-up that destroyed the same opponents in Perth last weekend, bringing in Odwa Ndungane in place of the injured JP Pietersen on the wing, with forward Danie Rossouw named on the bench.
It means the world champions will go into the game with 624 caps on the field and a further 209 on the bench, making them one of the most experienced international teams currently playing.
The game at the SunCorp Stadium will also mark the 50th Test appearance for centre Jaque Fourie — the fifth player after Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers and Fourie du Preez to reach the milestone in 2009.
“On Saturday, Jaque Fourie will become the fifth player this season to earn his 50th cap in the green and gold,” the coach wrote in his column. “This is a wonderful milestone and it is certainly something to celebrate.
“Another major achievement a few weeks ago was that of (captain) John Smit who became the most capped Test captain of all time when we faced the All Blacks in Durban.
“What has amazed me as we have marked these milestones has been the unselfishness of the players in ensuring that the team's interests always come first.”
South Africa are just one win away from winning the Tri-Nations title for the first time since 2004.