Springboks focus on breakdown battle
Thu, 13 Sep 2012 6:32a.m.
By Robert Lowe
The Springboks have gone for a "horses for courses" approach by adding Francois Louw to their loose forward trio to counter the All Blacks' prowess at the breakdown.
Louw, a specialist openside, is one of two changes to South Africa's starting 15 for the Rugby Championship Test in Dunedin on Saturday night.
The other is the inclusion of Flip can der Merwe at lock for Eben Etzebeth, who is sitting out a two-match for head-butting Wallaby Nathan Sharpe in the 26-19 defeat in Perth last weekend.
Louw comes in for Marcell Coetzee, who coach Heyneke Meyer says has the highest workrate in the side.
But he considers New Zealand as probably the best side in the world when it comes to the battle at the breakdown.
"It's not only Richie McCaw," he said of the All Blacks skipper.
"It's quite a few other guys who are really, really good at contesting that breakdown."
Coetzee would get playing time, "but it's a horses for courses approach", Meyer said in Auckland on Wednesday.
Jannie du Plessis, who is recovering from a hamstring strain, has been named to start at tighthead prop.
Du Plessis's back-up for the No.3 jersey if he fails to be fit in time is Pat Cilliers, who is himself getting over an elbow problem.
Meyer said it would be either one or the other, with the bench prop being Dean Greyling, usually a loosehead.
"I decided to go for either Pat or Jannie because you cannot have two guys who are not 100 per cent, especially against New Zealand," he said.
"The guy that's fit will play. At this stage it will be Jannie, but Pat has also trained well today and Jannie hasn't trained, so we will make a decision on that about on Friday."
The Springboks head to Dunedin today.
South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (capt), Frans Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Juandre Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Tiaan Liebenberg, Dean Greyling, Andries Bekker, Marcell Coetzee, Johan Goosen, Juan de Jongh, Pat Lambie.
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