Goosen gets starting nod | MenStuff
Rugby Championship

Goosen gets starting nod

Johan Goosen will make his first test start on Saturday when the Springboks take on the Wallabies.

The Springboks have named the squad to face Australia in the Rugby Championship meeting in Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday.

Johan Goosen is the most notable change, and the 20-year old Cheetahs pivot will make his first test start at fly-half.

Goosen is one of the six players in the match-22 that are 22 years old or younger – the others being Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Pat Lambie, Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute.

The Stormers lock pair of Etzebeth and Andries Bekker will start in the middle row. Etzebeth is back in the Springbok team after missing the previous Test because of a suspension.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, in announcing his side to face Australia on Wednesday, also made four changes on the bench, where Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Jantjies and Taute have been included.

Jantjies and Taute have not played Test rugby for the Springboks, while Oosthuizen is back from injury. Van der Merwe and Bekker swap places in the match-22.

“I’ve maintained from the outset that I won’t rush Johan, but I feel he is now ready to start a Test for South Africa and I’m excited to see what he can bring,” said Meyer.

“Morné (Steyn), in the last four seasons, has played close to 140 matches at Test, Vodacom Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup level and probably deserves a break, but this also provides a great opportunity for Johan, a player I rate very highly.

“Morné is a quality player and a fighter and I know he will bounce back.”

Commenting on the changes at lock, Meyer said: “It’s good to have Eben back with us. Flip played very well in Dunedin, but he’s been struggling with an injury this week and that is why we decided to start with him on the bench. I also thought Andries did very well when he came on against New Zealand and he is an excellent jumper in the lineout as well.”

Frans Steyn, who has been struggling with an ankle injury, has been bracketed with Taute in the midfield. Should Steyn not pass a fitness test by Friday, Taute will start and Juan de Jongh will come in on the bench.

The Springbok starting XV, with Frans Steyn at inside centre, boasts a combined total of 468 Test caps, with 314 of those belonging to the backs and 154 to the forwards.

Meyer said the Springboks were looking forward to Saturday’s Test and realised the importance of the match.

“It’s great to be back home in South Africa after three tough matches on the road. We were not happy with the results in Mendoza, Perth or Dunedin and we know how big the Test at Loftus Versfeld is on Saturday,” said Meyer.

“The Australians will be tough opponents on Saturday. We’ve now lost our last five Tests against them and need to turn this around.”

The Springbok team to face Australia in Pretoria is:

15 Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 19 caps
14 Bryan Habana (DHL Western Province) 81 caps
13 Jean de Villiers (captain, DHL Western Province) 79 caps
12 Frans Steyn (The Sharks) 53 caps / Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions) uncapped
11 Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 22 caps
10 Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 2 caps
9 Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland) 58 caps
8 Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province) 2 caps
7 Willem Alberts (The Sharks) 15 caps
6 Francois Louw (Bath, England) 12 caps
5 Andries Bekker (DHL Western Province) 27 caps
4 Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province) 6 caps
3 Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks) 37 caps
2 Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain, Toyota FS Cheetahs) 16 caps
1 Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks) 39 caps

16 Tiaan Liebenberg (DHL Western Province) 3 caps
17 Coenie Oosthuizen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 1 cap
18 Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 18 caps
19 Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks) 7 caps
20 Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions) 0 caps
21 Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions) uncapped / Juan de Jongh (DHL Western Province) 10 caps
22 Pat Lambie (The Sharks) 15 caps

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