De Villiers looks for strongest team to play Wallabies

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers said Monday he will not repeat his error from the British and Irish Lions series and instead will name his strongest lineup to face the Wallabies this weekend.

The unbeaten Springboks are just one point away from clinching their first Tri-Nations’ crown in five years and de Villiers declared he will not be taking the crisis-hit Wallabies for granted in Brisbane.

Instead of resting some key personnel and giving more game-time to other players, de Villiers said he will go in strong against the Aussies, who have yet to record a win in this year’s competition.

The world champions’ only loss this year was to the British and Irish Lions in the dead-rubber third Test, when de Villiers experimented with his team and paid the price.

“You know, you only make a mistake once in your life, I made that mistake with the Lions,” de Villiers told a press conference.

“It chose to work in our favour because I know where I stand with combinations and individual abilities.

“For me to do the same thing now, when will I learn?

“So it’s not about winning the Tri-Nations, it’s taking it game by game and trying to stay number one in the world.

“We want to be the leading rugby nation, we want to set the trends, put down our markers, we want the world to follow us and we don’t want to make our emblem cheap.”

De Villiers will be forced into at least two changes with winger JP Pietersen (hamstring) and reserve lock Andries Bekker (shoulder) sent home after being injured in last Saturday’s 32-25 win over Australia in Perth.

Pack enforcer Bakkies Botha is also in doubt with abdomen and knee problems, while possible replacement, Danie Rossouw, is working his way back from a hamstring strain.

De Villiers said he was reluctant to call for replacements out from South Africa and will give Botha as much time as possible to prove his fitness.

Botha and superstar winger Bryan Habana (groin) both sat out training on Monday, but Habana has been ruled fit to play as the world champions search for their first win in Brisbane since 1971.—AFP


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