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Goosen backed by skipper

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers has backed rookie fly-half Johan Goosen to handle the pressure against New Zealand in Saturday's Rugby Championship finale.

Goosen made his Test debut in last week's victory over Australia but he relinquished the kicking duties after just two strikes at goal due to a bruised heel. But the 20-year-old came through a fitness test on Wednesday and he will start in Soweto with a heavy responsibility on his shoulders.

And De Villiers is confident that Goosen can deliver, saying: "Can he handle the pressure? I can tell you not much bothers the Goose. To me it seems the bigger event, the bigger response from him. He just gets on with the job."

He went on: "I am very confident in Johan's ability. He kicked in training on Wednesday and it went well for him and there is no reason he can't carry that form into Saturday's game."

The Springboks are unchanged from their 31-8 victory over Australia, although prop Coenie Oosthuizen replaces Pat Cilliers on the bench.

The All Blacks were crowned inaugural winners of the Rugby Championship with a commanding victory in Argentina last week but they are refusing to rest on their laurels.

Number eight Kieran Read said the test of true champions was to win away from home.

"It would really cement our number one status to win away from home against one of the top sides. If we don't win, then a lot of what we've achieved goes out the window," Read said.

"To be number one, you can't just win at home and it's really important to win this weekend, there's no bigger challenge than playing the Springboks at home."


From Belfast Telegraph