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Springboks certain to make changes

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There could be four, perhaps even five, changes to South Africa’s team for Saturday’s must-win Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand at Newlands.


Coach Peter de Villiers announces the Springbok team in Cape Town on Tuesday – an hour before All Blacks coach Graham Henry will name his match-22.


The injury to lock Bakkie Botha and the return of the two World Cup stars Bryan Habana (pictured) on the wing and flank Schalk Burger account for three new faces in the Springbok team compared to the run-on side against Argentina last Saturday.


The fourth will be Fourie du Preez.


Even the sometimes unfathomable selections by Springbok coach Peter de Villiers cannot deny the returning Blue Bull scrumhalf his place – especially after Ricky Januarie’s shocker against Argentina.


Despite some brilliant moments – notably on defence plus of course that winning try against the All Blacks in Dunedin -Januarie is simply not in the same class as Du Preez.


The latter’s appearance as a substitute on Saturday gave flyhalf Butch James that extra yard of space previously taken up by Januarie’s penchant to run before passing.


Burger will take over from Luke Watson and Bryan Habana’s return will see Jongi Nokwe fall right through the bench, where Frans Steyn will return in place of injured Jaque Fourie.


Who will take over from Botha will be interesting indeed. De Villiers will have to choose between an enforcer to counter the tough All Blacks and someone who can disrupt their lineouts.


Andries Bekker has done his bit in his seven Test appearances, but Botha’s power and aggression will be missed.


Victor Matfield needs that sort of lock as partner – and the abrasive Danie Rossouw could well come in from the cold to start on Saturday.


Fetcher Watson, a contentious selection all along, could follow Jongi out of the match 22. Rossouw’s ability to play lock, flank and No 8 could see to Watson’s demise.


De Villiers, who obviously rates Joe van Niekerk highly, is unlikely to let him go – but that again will leave the bench short of a fetcher, something that cost the Boks dearly in the loss against the Wallabies in Perth.


Sapa  – TriNationsweb.com

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