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Shades of 1995

South Africa’s victory in the Rugby World Cup final in 1995 is arguably the finest moment in our rugby history. I still believe the opening game at Newlands laid the platform for what was to come. The victory did wonders for Springbok confidence, which carried through when they triumphed against 14 All Blacks and a giant who caused chaos against all they played before the final.

Saturday’s match against the Wallabies can provide the same injection in a side not short on self-believe, but needing to recover from the mental blow inflicted by the Bismarck incident. If the Boks manage to address this, and sort out the defensive lapses against the All Blacks, they should win comfortably. With Fourie du Preez in the starting line-up, four tries look decidedly possible. We need a five pointer if we want the last game against the All Blacks to be the decider.

The Aussies know what they are up against, but whether they have the personnel to address it, is doubtful. With Wycliff Palu out of the mix through injury, they really need a figure of force to spark the required aggression. They may have an igniter in the side in the form of Sitaleki Timani, but he is on the bench, and if he does come on, it may be too late. They will be happy to have hard-working James Horwill back, and the exclusion of James O’Connor actually strengthens the side.

The Wallabies will be going hell for leather in the first 20 minutes to get a grip on the game, and to silence the vociferous crowd. If we can keep our composure in this period, the seeds of self-doubt will have been sown, and from thereon it will merely be a case of setting the platform to score the required points. I regard Nick White as possibly the single biggest threat, if he can maintain the form displayed two weeks ago.

With rain forecast for the match day, I would be hesitant to select a player named Slipper in the front row.

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Ben Mowen , Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill (c), Rob Simmons, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Replacements: Saia Fainga’a, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Chris Feauai-Sautia.

Springbok team: Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Pienaar, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.

Black Sunday for Argentina?

 

An All Black side boasting a combined test tally of 809 caps should be able to weather the storm against a side showing six changes from their previous match. If you add to this the fact that eleven of the players who were part of last year’s drubbing of 54-15 are in the side, then it is difficult not to predict a thumping for the home side.

Steve Hansen does not underestimate the opposition, though:

“Playing Argentina at home is never an easy assignment so we have worked hard on, firstly, our recovery on arrival and, secondly, our preparation throughout the week. We know that we will have to be physically on top of our game and strategically smart.

“As always, we are expecting a huge challenge from the Argentina and a very vocal crowd but everyone is looking forward to embracing this challenge.

All Blacks:
Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (Capt), Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.

Argentina: Juan Martin Hernandez; Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Juan Imhoff; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (capt); Julio Farias Cabello, Patricio Albacete; Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza. Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Lobo, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Mariano Galarza, Benjamin Macome, Tomas Cubelli, Felipe Contepomi, Horacio Agulla.

Jakes Hy Ko’ Hys toe

Dis voorblad nuus dat Jake White hom by die Sharks gaan voeg, maar die Brumbies kan nog ‘n stokkie voor sy deelname aan volgende jaar se Superreeks steek. Volgens die Sydney Mornng Herald is daar ‘n klousule in sy kontrak wat hom verbied om ‘n ander Superspan af te rig tensy hy minstens 18 maande kennis gee by die Brumbies. Hopelik sal dit aangespreek word in die onderhandelinge tussen die partye, maar ek vermoed dat die Sharks hul hande diep in hul beursie sal moet steek om White beskikbaar te hê.

Op ‘n positiewe noot, glo ek almal in Suid-Afrika verwelkom White se terugkeer. Hy gaan ‘n massiewe impak op die Sharks se rugby hê, soos wat hy by die Brumbies gedoen het, en indirek ook op die ander spanne wat tot nuwe hoogtes sal moet reik om by te bly.

Met die reuse talent onder ons jong opkomende spelers, en die vlak van afrigting tot ons beskikking, is ek meer opgewonde oor SA rugby as in baie jare.

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