GAME ON FOR SOUTH AFRICA
By: Lindokuhle Ndaba
Following Coach Heyneke Meyer’s team announcement on Wednesday afternoon, the Springboks feel that they are ready for their toughest test yet against the All Blacks.
Saturday’s Championship decider is going to be a mammoth task for both teams, more-so for South Africa, as they need to ensure a bonus-point victory over New Zealand and win by 7 points. The Boks however will feel that they have history on their side as they have won 24 of the 44 tests played at Ellis Park against the All Blacks.
The team will be seeking revenge for their controversial 29-15 loss to the team from down-under just three weeks ago, especially Bismarck du Plessis who was arguably unfairly red-carded in the early minutes of the second half, causing an unbalanced remainder of the game. His inclusion will boost the morale of the team, albeit at the expense of an in-form Adriaan Strauss.
Popular prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira will be playing in his 50th test for South Africa, making him the 5th prop and 27th Springbok to do so. The players around him will rely heavily on his physicality and ball-retention, something he is well-known for.
The only uncertainty in the squad is centre, JJ Engelbrecht who has a leg injury. Should he not recover he will be replaced by Jan Serfontein, which in turn will give Juan de Jongh an opportunity on the bench.
The full squad is as follows:
15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Willie le Roux, 13-JJ Engelbrecht or Jan Serfontein, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Fourie du Preez; 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Juandre Kruger, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16-Adriaan Strauss, 17-Gurthro Steenkamp, 18-Coenie Oosthuizen, 19-Franco van der Merwe, 20-Siya Kolisi, 21-Ruan Pienaar, 22-Pat Lambie, 23-Jan Serfontein or Juan de Jongh