The Boks have got their selections wrong. The Aussies, for this one, are right on the money.
The two teams have met 76 times and the Boks hold a 19-18 winning average since the first match-up. It is in the last few years that the Australians have enjoyed a huge advantage over the Boks, winning eight of the last 10 Tests.
I have written all week that the Wallabies, at SunCorp Stadium, are the equal of a Springbok team at Ellis Park. It is the ground that gives them something extra. The fast paced surface also suits their style of play and they’ve done the Boks often there (six in succession) because the Boks have not picked a mobile enough pack.
Nothing has changed in this weekend’s selections.
The back row is physical but slow, Flip van der Merwe at lock is another of the ponderous and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar’s starting role, alongside Zane Kirchner’s at fullback, offers a hint of what to expect.
The Boks will play a conservative kicking game, but they’ve read this one wrong.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer defended Kirchner’s selection to SA Rugbymag’s man on tour Jon Cardinelli
Kirchner also spoke a good game when interviewed by Cardinelli.
This selection would have merit in Auckland against the All Blacks. It doesn’t, in my view, have the same merit in Brisbane.
Lock Eben Etzebeth will be given more time to recover from a stomach illness. If he doesn’t recover then Juandre Kruger will start alongside Van der Merwe.
The Australians, in recalling Quade Cooper at flyhalf, and shifting Israel Folau to fullback, have got it right for this contest. Cooper will trouble the Bok defence, simply because he has a go and Folau, at fullback, is guaranteed to see more ball.
On Monday I wrote the Boks would lose. Nothing this week has made me reconsider, especially now that the Saturday match squads have been been confirmed.
Springboks – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam-Ashley Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James O’Connor, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jesse Mogg.