Wallabies v Springboks, preview

July 05, 2007 - 10:45am
Story by: Sportal

Venue & time

Telstra Stadium, Sydney - Saturday July 7, 8pm (AEST)

Head to head

Played 64: Springboks 40, Wallabies 23, Drawn 1

Last time

June 2007 (Cape Town) - Springboks 22-19 Wallabies

Walking wounded & team changes

Injuries to hooker Stephen Moore and No.8 Wycliff Palu have forced some changes in the Wallabies scrum. Waratahs rake Adam Freier starts in the No.2 jersey with Sean Hardman coming onto the bench, while Stephen Hoiles earns his debut start at the back of the scrum. Lote Tuqiri's suspension paves the way for Mark Gerrard to get another start at wing with Drew Mitchell as a reserve back. George Gregan has recovered from a corked thigh from last week's win over the All Blacks and will start at scrumhalf. Lock Hugh McMeniman returns from injury for his first Wallabies appearance this year while David Lyons joins him on the bench.

South Africa will field only two players from the run-on side that defeated Australia in Cape Town two weeks ago with scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar and winger JP Pietersen retaining their places in the starting XV. Twenty-four-year-old front-rower Jannie Du Plessis earns his first cap after tighthead prop Cobus Visagie suffered an elbow injury at training on Wednesday and was ruled out. Veteran loose forward Bobby Skinstad completes his return to the international ranks with the captain's duties. Gary Botha is the hooker in place of the injured John Smit, while Johan Ackermann and Johann Muller have the tough job of filling the roles locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha in the lineout. Bulls' sharp shooter Derrick Hougaard takes over from Butch James at flyhalf while Waylon Murray and Wynand Olivier are the new centre combination with Breyton Paulse on the wing and Bevin Fortuin adding to his single Test cap at fullback. Du Plessis' uncapped younger brother Bismarck is the reserve hooker, while flyhalf Peter Grant will also get a chance to make his international debut from the bench.


The Wallabies have started to hit their straps over the past couple of matches. They put in a brave defensive effort only to suffer a narrow 22-19 to the Springboks in Cape Town two weeks ago. Australia then produced a massive effort to upstage the All Blacks 20-15 in Melbourne last weekend. The scrum is going well, the lineout is competitive and the backline is starting to click into high gear.

The Springboks have been the hottest team in world rugby over the past six weeks. They demolished England and Samoa before the narrow win over the Wallabies. The Boks suffered a hard-fought 26-21 loss to New Zealand. However, South African selectors have decided to rest a core group of key players from their two remaining Tri Nations matches, so their form is hard to gauge with the current line-up.

Who's hot

Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock turned in a massive man-of-the-match performance last week against the All Blacks and will be again looking to lead from the front. Deputy George Smith also had a huge game against the Blacks while front-rowers Matt Dunning and Guy Shepherdson are playing well. Stephen Hoiles impressed when he came on for Wycliff Palu at No.8 while Adam Ashley-Cooper showed he is a future champion with an eye-catching performance on the left wing.

With only two players from the last Wallabies v Boks clash in the starting XV it is hard to say who is in form for the tourists. Pienaar and Pietersen have been playing well as has recalled skipper Skinstad. Flyhalf Hougaard gets his chance to prove himself at international level. Flanker van Heerden and Pedrie Wannenburg will benefit from being part of the Bulls successful Super 14 campaign.



1. Matt Dunning,
2. Adam Freier,
3. Guy Shepherdson,
4. Nathan Sharpe,
5. Dan Vickerman,
6. Rocky Elsom,
7. George Smith (vc),
8. Stephen Hoiles,

9. George Gregan,
10. Stephen Larkham,
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper,
12. Matt Giteau,
13. Stirling Mortlock (c),
14. Mark Gerrard,
15. Julian Huxley.

16. Sean Hardman,
17. Al Baxter,
18. Hugh McMeniman,
19. David Lyons,
20. Phil Waugh (vc),
21. Scott Staniforth,
22. Drew Mitchell


1. CJ van der Linde,
2. Gary Botha,
3. Jannie Du Plessis,
4. Johan Ackermann,
5. Johann Muller,
6. Wikus van Heerden,
7. Pedrie Wannenburg,
8. Bob Skinstad (c),

9. Ruan Pienaar,
10. Derick Hougaard,
11. JP Pietersen,
12. Wynand Olivier,
13. Waylon Murray,
14. Breyton Paulse,
15. Bevin Fortuin.

16. Bismarck du Plessis,
17. Eddie Andrews,
18. Albert van den Berg,
19. Jacques Cronje,
20. Michael Claassens,
21. Peter Grant,
22. Jaco Pretorius.