Frans favoured at 15

Frans Steyn will start at fullback against the Wallabies while Jaque Fourie is also back in the Springbok line-up.

Saturday’s Test will be Steyn’s first since the match against Wales in June. Coach Peter de Villiers has confirmed that Steyn will feature in both games against the Wallabies, and is hoping talks with Steyn’s club Racing Metro result in more Test opportunities for the 23-year-old.

It will be interesting to see how Steyn goes given that he hasn’t played much rugby since that win in Cardiff. There was some confusion about the quad injury he sustained in the Top 14, but after playing against Montpellier last Friday, it’s believed that he’s 100% fit.

‘Frans is an outstanding player, a natural athlete,’ De Villiers told keo.co.za. ‘He’s used to playing alongside many of these players and I have no doubt that he’ll slot straight in.

‘Having Frans in the line-up means we have another kicker. We haven’t had another kicker of Morne Steyn’s calibre for some time, so now we know that if we want to bring on fresh legs, we won’t drop our standards by asking Frans to kick.’

Butch James has had precious few opportunities this season, but De Villiers maintains he’s an important part of the squad. The Bok coach suggested his statement is no slight on James’s kicking ability.

‘I’m not saying Butch is bad, he did so well for me in that first year [2008]. Butch understands his role and brings a lot of experience to the side. Like John [Smit] and Victor [Matfield] he knows what the next move is.

‘I know it [the bench] is not the best place to be, but he understands. He’s waiting for his big chance to prove himself.’

While Steyn replaces Gio Aplon, Fourie ousts Juan de Jongh for a starting shirt. After four straight losses in this year’s Tri-Nations, De Villiers isn’t taking any chances and explained that Fourie is the best No 13 available after serving a four-week suspension for a dangerous tackle.

‘Juan hasn’t let us down this year, and I’m sure he’ll be a great one day. But Jaque is world-class and has already shown what he can do. We want to put the best out there for the people.’

In the forwards, lock Flip van der Merwe is retained ahead of Danie Rossouw, who didn’t start at Soccer City because of a hip injury. Juan Smith is battling an abdominal strain, but has been given more time to recover.

‘We gave Flip a chance last week, and he took it with both hands,’ said De Villiers. ‘We knew that with Juan Smith back, we didn’t really need another strong ball carrier, but rather another hard nut like Bakkies.’

Ryan Kankowski was called up this week to provide cover for Smith, but has surprisingly displaced Francois Louw in the match 22. The Boks will go into this fixture without a specialist fetcher in their squad.

Springboks – 15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Butch James, 22 Juan de Jongh.

By Jon Cardinelli, in Pretoria

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