Giteau to lead strong World XV
Former Wallaby star Matt Giteau will lead a World XV that certainly has plenty of strength on paper in Saturday’s friendly international against the Springboks at Newlands.
Most of the players are ones that South Africans should know quite well, with former Wallabies James O’Connor and Drew Mitchell joining countryman Giteau in the backline, while Bok and former Bulls centre Wynand Oliver squeezes in between Giteau and Kiwi Rene Ranger at inside centre. As anticipated, Rory Kockott, formerly of the Sharks but now knocking on the door of French selection if he continues to be ignored by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, is at scrumhalf.
There are two South African No 5 locks pairing up in the second row, and it is no secret that World XV coach Nick Mallett will be banking a lot on Alistair Hargreaves (former SA age-group captain, Bok and Sharks player) and Juandre Kruger, who was running the Bok lineouts a year ago, getting it right in the lineouts in the first significant step towards making this a competitive match.
Hooker Craig Burden would have thrown to Hargreaves when they were both playing for the Sharks, and Kruger and Burden have been members of the same Bok squad. Burden wasn’t known as a great lineout thrower when he was in South Africa, but at least there is a semblance of familiarity between the players who will be teaming up in this phase of the game.
Former All Black Carl Hayman will lend experience and expertise to the scrum, while there is plenty of depth on the bench, with All Black Andrew Hore backing up hooker and fellow former All Black Jimmy Cowan doing the same for scrumhalf. Francois Trinh-Duc and Stanley Benson are also pretty handy players to on the bench of a scratch team.
“There are some exciting players in the backline, but for the backline to do anything you have to win your lineout ball. I’m confident we will do well at the scrums, but with Victor Matfield back for the Springboks, we have to ensure we are competitive at the lineout,” said Mallett.
“The Boks have a powerful lineout drive, and we will need to contain them there. In general, the priority will be to stop them from going forward. Neither Juandre or Alistair is in the mould of a Bakkies Botha, but they both do get around the park in addition to the most important thing, which is their lineout proficiency.”
Mallett also highlighted the physicality of the back-row, with Roger Wilson, Steffon Armitage and Mamuka Gorgodze all being players who are known for their relish of the hard approach to the game. It is clear from the selection that the World XV are determined to give the Boks a tough contest, something that was stressed by skipper Giteau.
“We want the bragging rights, and I am sure guys like Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana (both of whom are Toulon teammates of Giteau) will not be holding anything back. It actually makes you more competitive when you play against your mates.”
There is an element of continuity in Mallett’s selection of Giteau as his captain, as the Wallaby led the Barbarians when Mallett coached them against the All Blacks and Boks respectively in 2009 and 2010.
Stats and facts:
The Springboks’ starting team boasts a total of 762 Test caps (339 in the backline and 423 in the forwards), while there are a further 248 caps worth of experience on the bench.
• South Africa have played against World XV’s on three occasions at home since 1977, with the Springboks winning all three matches. The score in 1977 was 45-24 and in 1989 20-19 and 22-16 respectively.
• The Springboks have scored 87 points and 11 tries and conceded 59 points and nine tries for an average score of 29-20.
• At the end of 2006, a Springbok XV lost to a World XV in Leicester.
• Cornal Hendricks, the only uncapped player in the side, represented the Springbok Sevens from 2011-2013.
• The referee is the 37-year-old George Clancy of Ireland. This will be his ninth Springbok Test as referee. The Boks have won six and lost two of these eight encounters. His last Test for SA was against Australia on 7 September, 2013 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, where the Boks won by 38-12.
|Games played between the Sth Africa and World XV|
|2-Sep-89||South Africa||22 – 16||World XV|
|26-Aug-89||South Africa||20 – 19||World XV|
|27-Aug-77||South Africa||45 – 24||World XV|
|Games Played||3||Games Played||3|
|*Games Won||3||*Games Won||0|
|*Games Lost||0||*Games Lost||3|
|Games Drawn||0||Games Drawn||0|
|*Longest Winning Streak||3||*Longest Winning Streak||0|
|*Longest Losing Streak||0||*Longest Losing Streak||3|
|*Largest Points For||45||*Largest Points For||24|
|*Largest Points Against||24||*Largest Points Against||45|
|*Largest Winning Margin||21||*Largest Winning Margin||0|
|*Largest Losing Margin||0||*Largest Losing Margin||-21|
|*Total Points For||87||*Total Points For||59|
|*Avg Points For||29||*Avg Points For||19.67|
|*Total Points Against||59||*Total Points Against||87|
|*Avg Points Against||19.67||*Avg Points Against||29|
|*Total Points Difference||28||*Total Points Difference||-28|
|*Avg Points Difference||9.33||*Avg Points Difference||-9.33|
|* = By Sth Africa||* = By World XV|
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
World XV: 15 James O’Connor, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Juandré Kruger, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 François Trinh-Duc, 23 Benson Stanley.
Date: Saturday, June 7
Kick-off: 17:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)