DAVID SHAPSHAK, Johannesburg | Monday 5.00pm.
SPRINGBOK coach Nick Mallett on Monday named a side to bring “a style of play that will improve our attacking options without losing defensive options” in his line-up for a two Test series against Italy.
His team, which excludes injured stars Joost van der Westhuizen and Henry Honiball but is led by fit-again Gary Teichmann, has four new caps who he must be hoping will improve the world champion’s attacking play.
Teichmann will lead the Springboks for the 34th time in his 39th consecutive Test match, both of which are records. Mallett has rewarded good Super 12 form with call ups for Breyton Paulse on the right wing and Robbie Fleck at centre – both of whom are strong attackers and can produce game-breaking movements.
He has also introduced the mobile Cobus Visagie is in at tighthead prop and Selborne Boome at lock. All four have played well for South Africa’s form Super 12 team, the Stormers.
“By the end of the series against Italy we would hopefully have come up with solutions on destabilising defences and Wales will be a very big Test for us. Ideally we will take the same squad that went to Wales to the Tri-Nations,” Mallett said.
Mallett, who has pioneered a success use of the squad system, said he would give all 22 players a chance in the Test against Italy, on June 12 and 19, before the Springboks play Wales in Cardiff on June 26.
“We must look at Manchester United as an example in how to get through a long season. Some guys who start this Test in Port Elizabeth may not start the next one in Durban, even if they have blinders.”
South Africa must play Australia and New Zealand in the Tri-Nations, away in July and home in August, before their defence of the Webb Ellis trophy in Wales in October.
Paulse’s sparkling form has ousted Stefen Terblanche from the right wing, while Mallett has retained the lacklustre Percy Montgomery at fullback despite the convincing form of his predecessor, Andre Joubert.
The all WP back three include Pieter Rossouw, whose uncanny game breaking skills have turned many matches in the Stormers favour.
Joining Fleck in mid-field is fit-again master tackler Pieter Muller.
Flyhalf protegee Gaffie du Toit, who last year made history by played a Test before a first class domestic game, come in at flyhalf outside of Werner Swanepoel, who has successfully deputised for Van der Westhuizen in the past.
However, as in the past, the front rank might prove the side’s weak point. While Mallett has brought in a specialist scrummaging coach, he is without stalwarts Adrian Garvey, James Dalton and Os du Randt. While both Visagie and Robbie Kempson have had good seasons for the Stormers, while Naka Drotske is simply not quite Test standard.
Boome deservedly comes in for the out of touch Mark Andrews and Krynauw Otto has shown his class by performing well in the Northern Bulls disastrous Super 12 campaign.
As ever, the Springbok’s winning-formula loose trio — Teichman, Andre Venter and Johan Erasmus – will provide the spark that makes the world champions the dangerous team they can be.
Mallett has ample talent on the bench, including 1995 World Cup hero Japie Mulder who makes his return to the green and gold after two injury-plagued seasons.
His non-playing squad members include Stormers captain Corne Krige; the hard-scrummaging Willie Meyer; Deon Kayser and the man many thought would take Honiball’s crown, Braam van Straaten.
The team: Percy Montgomery (Western Province); Breyton Paulse (WP); Robbie Fleck (WP); Pieter Muller; (Natal Sharks); Pieter Rossouw (WP); Gaffie du Toit (Griquas); Werner Swanepoel; Gary Teichmann (Natal Sharks, captain); Andre Venter (Lions); Johan Erasmus (Lions); Krynauw Otto (Blue Bulls); Selborne Boome (WP); Cobus Visagie(WP); Naka Drotsk (Free State); Robbie Kempson (WP).
Reserves: Stefan Terblanche (Natal Sharks); Japie Mulder (Lions); David von Hoesslin (Griquas); Andre Vos (Lions); Albert van den Berg (Griquas); Ollie le Roux (Natal Sharks); Charl Marais (WP).