Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

South Africa v Australia

South Africa's Fourie du Preez is back for Australia clash.
South Africa's Fourie du Preez is back for Australia clash.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has backed returning scrum-half Fourie du Preez to guide his side to victory over Australia and maintain the Springboks' interest in the Rugby Championship.

The hosts go into the game four points behind leaders New Zealand, who face Argentina, and needing a win in Cape Town.

The return of veteran Du Preez surprised many - he has not started for his country since the 2011 World Cup - but Meyer is convinced he is the perfect man to down the Wallabies.

He said: "Watching Fourie train this week you realise what a great player he is.

"Without taking anything away from Ruan Pienaar, who has also been good and is very experienced, Fourie is in a class of his own.

"The main thing about him is that we have an extra coach on the field. He is calm, organises the defence, the attack, and the kicking game.

"His presence takes pressure off (captain) Jean de Villiers.

"Fourie has the ability to find players in space, or put them into space. He is a magnificent player with great organisational skills."

Du Preez's selection ahead of Pienaar was one of two changes made by Meyer from defeat last time out to the All Blacks, Bismarck du Plessis losing his place to Adriaan Strauss being the other.

Strauss is expecting a tough game against Australia, who will be determined to avenge the 38-12 drubbing they suffered in Brisbane earlier this month.

He told www.iol.co.za: "That defeat would have stung them and they will be supremely motivated. They will be looking to up their game, especially the forwards.

"But we are also positive and have been working hard on our scrumming, an area that has gone well for us this season."

Australia captain James Horwill has been named in the starting XV having sat out the past two Tests against the Springboks and Argentina with a hamstring injury.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has made six changes to the side that defeated Argentina 14-13 in Perth, with Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani handed his run-on debut and a new-look wing pairing of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Joe Tomane.

Prop Benn Robinson is named on a bench that includes teenager Chris Feauai-Sautia, while scrum-half Nic White has held on to the number nine jersey.

McKenzie was glad to have Horwill back in his side and is looking forward to seeing Kuridrani perform in what will be his first start in international rugby.

"James has plenty of experience and we are going into a tough environment. He plays the game hard so it's timely that he is back," McKenzie said.

"In our outside backs we've already been forced into change but Tomane on one wing is pretty straightforward. He is big and powerful and has been in the squad for a long time.

"The question after that is whether we wanted to bring an uncapped player onto the wing or go with Kuridrani, who has been training with the squad every week and has been used off the bench in two games.

"In the end we wanted to make things as smooth as possible while relying on as much experience as we can. We're going with guys who have been training with us consistently since the beginning of the tournament.

"Adam Ashley-Cooper also has great capacity to cover a number of positions and we're always going to use him in different roles. With his experience he knows what's required and the role is something he feels comfortable doing. It won't change the way he contributes."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre