Power back in the pack
5 Jun 2006
Front-rowers John Smit and Os du Randt are among eight players back in the mix for the first Test against Scotland.
Coach Jake White will be hugely relieved to welcome back some of his first-choice players who missed out on the action at the weekend following the below-par display of his so-called B squad.
The eight players bring with them a remarkable 300 Test caps, but more importantly they are world class performers in their own right and will be required to fire on all cylinders to combat a Scottish outfit that will test them in most departments.
Smit (51 caps), du Randt (61 caps) and Victor Matfield (45 caps) will all be considered for selection and will add considerable weight and height to the tight-five.
Others who joined the squad in Durban on Monday include: Juan Smith (flank, 21 caps), Fourie du Preez (scrumhalf, 21 caps), Jacques Cronje (flank, 20), Schalk Burger (flank, 25 caps) and Breyton Paulse (wing, 56 caps).
Both Burger and Smith are expected to be recalled to the backrow and the Western Province man is sure to make a big difference after the Bok XV struggled at the breakdowns against the World XV.
Paulse’s return after his season in France will add some speed – something that was sorely lacking at Ellis Park – and experience with Percy Montgomery.
The Scots, meanwhile, were busy settling into their team hotel. They will have their first training session in Durban on Tuesday morning, where a number of niggling injuries will be inspected.
By Andrew Hollely