Saturday, August 13, 2011

TEST MATCH RUGBY: Australia in South Africa

Australia v South Africa in Durban (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)

Venue: King’s Park

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

This is turning out to be one of THE clashes in this years shortened Tri Nations competition. Australia is coming off a 14-30 loss to New Zealand last weekend whilst South Africa has recalled a number of top players who did not make the earlier tour to Australia and New Zealand. Australia must win this game to stay in contention for the trophy plus they dare not arrive in Auckland for the Rugby World Cup Finals with a string of losses.

Coach Robbie Deans has brought Higginbotham into his starting lineup after two high energy games for Australia off the bench. He was Australia’s stand-out forward last weekend. Prop Ma’afu returns to test rugby since his Super 15 injury. He played in most of Australia’s test matches last year. Australia’s scrum has looked steady against New Zealand and South Africa. His inclusion off the bench could make a big impact at scrum time. There are the only two changes in the starting lineup from last week with Nathan Sharp, arguably the best lineout jumper in world rugby, returning to the team. A 5-2 forward-back bench combination sees Radike Samo called into the squad.

South African coach has, predictably, made 13 changes to the line up that lost 7-40 to New Zealand two weeks ago. Captain Smith and Rossouw are the only survivors from that loss to start again this week. Returning are a group of players who have virtually missed a year of test rugby due to injuries, they being JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Butch James and Gurthrö Steenkamp.Other leading players not considered due to injury are Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Willem Alberts. "We still have a number of leading players unavailable through injury but this is the strongest squad we have been able to choose from since 2009," said De Villiers.

It’s set for a cracker of a game.

Last Five Encounters
23.07.2011 Australia 39, South Africa 20 in Sydney (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
04.09.2010 Australia 41-39 in Bloemfontein (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
28.08.2010 South Africa 44-31 in Pretoria (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
24.07.2010 Australia 30-13 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
05.09.2009 Australia 21-6 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)

Previous in Durban
23.08.2008 Australia 27-15 (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
21.08.2004 South Africa 23-19 (Tri Nations)
26.08.2000 Australia 19-18 (Tri Nations)
16.08.1969 South Africa 16-9
19.09.1953 South Africa 18-8
22.07.1933 Australia 21-6

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 2nd, South Africa 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
Australia 86.58, South Africa 85.24

Prediction: South Africa by 3 points



15 Kurtley Beale
14 James O'Connor
13 Adam Ashley-Cooper
12 Pat McCabe
11 Digby Ioane
10 Quade Cooper
9 Will Genia
8 Scott Higginbotham
7 David Pocock
6 Rocky Elsom, Capt.
5 James Horwill
4 Nathan Sharpe
3 Benjamin Alexander
2 Stephen Moore
1 Sekope Kepu
16 Saia Fainga'a
17 Salesi Ma'afu
18 Sitaleki Timani
19 Benjamin McCalman
20 Radike Samo
21 Luke Burgess
22 Anthony Fainga'a
Head Coach: Robbie Deans


South Africa
15 Frans Steyn
14 J.P Pietersen
13 Jaque Fourie
12 Jean de Villiers
11 Bryan Habana
10 Butch James
9 Fourie du Preez
8 Pierre Spies
7 Danie Rossouw
6 Heinrich Brussow
5 Victor Matfield
4 Bakkies Botha
3 Jannie du Plessis
2 John Smit, Capt.
1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Bismarck du Plessi
17  Gurthro Steenkamp
18 Gerhard Mostert
19 Jean Deysel
20 Francois Houggard
21 Morne Steyn
22 Gio Aplon
Head Coach: Peter de Villiers

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