Wallabies and Boks playing for more than pride

New Zealand may have this year’s Tri-Nations all wrapped up but with us only half way through the tournament there are still many games to be played, and for Robbie Deans and Peter de Villiers, two coaches both under a significant amount of pressure, it’s the chance to answer some critics.

Super Cooper returns for the Wallabies

Starting with Australia, the return of Quade Cooper shifts Matt Giteau to inside centre, leaving Anthony Faingaa on the bench. The Aussie backline as a result looks a lot more solid, the experience of Giteau and Ashley-Cooper in the centres gives them a good chance of putting players through the gaps, with Giteau’s dexterity and Ashley-Cooper’s x-factor. Have the Aussies got enough to go up to the Highveld and pull off a victory? They are certainly underdogs.

South Africa’s team for this weekend is excellent. Out go the unlucky Juan de Jongh and Gio Aplon, and they really are unlucky after their performances against the All Blacks. In comes mystery man Frans Steyn, who depending on whether you listen to his club Racing Metro or the Springboks is either unable to walk or fully fit, and Jaque Fourie returns from a four week ban to come in at outside centre. With Juan Smith coming back last week, the team has a real 2007 vintage about it, minus a few names, and what that means is that this is a side full of international experience, and one that really knows how to grind out a victory anywhere in the world.

Matfield reaches 100 caps on Saturday.

Also important to note is that Saturday will be the 100th cap for a South African legend, Victor Matfield. His consistency and excellence over the years has been unwavering, and whenever he retires he will join the likes of Eales and Johnson as one of the great second rows and captains of all time.

Two teams under pressure, but home advantage will be telling. South Africa to win by 10.

Advertisements

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: