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Sapa, Staff Reporter05 Sep 2012 10:58
Heyneke Meyer has been lambasted on social media networks for dropping wing Lwazi Mvovo in favour of scrum half Francois Hougaard at the No. 11 spot. (Getty)
Meyer announced the Springbok squad for the Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship on Wednesday morning.
"The fact that Hougaard, who has been playing at 9 the whole season starts at 11 over Mvovo makes me realise Meyer has huge favourites," said Khaya Nkumbesi on Twitter.
"Even though I believe that Hougie is a much better wing than scrumhalf, he doesn't deserve his place on the wing over Mvovo!" wrote Raeeq Gamieldien.
@SlipCatch said: "Hougie was disappointing at 9. Dropping Mvovo was unfair.
Two wrongs might not be the solution."
"How Meyer can pick Hougaard ahead of Mvovo is pathetic ... Rian Maree.
"Hougaard starts ahead of Mvovo, cause he sucks at scrumhalf .... a bit unfair for the other wings?" asked Vaughn Mason.
But one or two rugby fans seemed more forgiving of the coach, trying to explain what he could have been thinking.
Sport Billy said: "Not worried about Hougie at wing. Just think like with Lambie his best position needs to be sorted sooner rather than later."
Front Row Grunt wrote: "Tough on Mvovo, who has not done anything wrong, but Hougaard's a special talent, and has skills better suited to wing ... "
"Sad to see Mvovo benched, but talented F Hougaard skills can be better utilised at wing," said Zama Miyeni.
Meyer named Western Province No. 8 Duane Vermeulen in his starting line-up for the third Test against Australia in Perth on Saturday.
"We've decided to put Duane straight into the starting team because he is a classic No. 8, a position we've lacked in since Pierre Spies got injured and Ryan Kankowski moved to Japan," Meyer said in Perth on Wednesday.
"I've always admired the way Duane plays rugby and he's fitted in very well the past week. He would've been a Springbok years ago if it had not been for injuries and it's great to finally see him selected."
Vermeulen's inclusion at the back of the scrum is one of five changes from the starting team that played Argentina in Mendoza a fortnight ago.
Francois Hougaard moves from scrumhalf to left wing and Willem Alberts shifts from eighthman to flank, while lock Juandré Kruger has been re-called to the starting 15, with Ruan Pienaar set to start his first Test of the year at scrumhalf.
In addition, Meyer named Free State Cheetahs'a pivot Johan Goosen on the bench and he will earn his first Springbok cap if he makes an appearance at the Paterson's Stadium.
Injury concern Adriaan Strauss was also included at hooker after coming through a first set of fitness tests, but the front-rower will be given until Friday to fully shake off his knee injury.
The changes to the line-up see two further changes to the bench—Francois Louw has been included in the match 22 for the first time this season, while Lwazi Mvovo is also among the replacements.
Meyer said he was pleased to have Goosen in his side and that the youngster could become one of the best flyhalves in world rugby.
"I've been very impressed with his work ethic and attitude since he joined the squad on Thursday in Johannesburg and we will keep on managing him carefully over the next few weeks," Meyer said."Ruan [Pienaar] brings a more tactical approach to scrumhalf, while I've always been impressed with Francois [Hougaard] at wing.
"At lock we've decided to go for Juandré [Kruger] as he plays more to the ball.
"Juandré and Eben [Etzebeth] played well as a combination in the June Tests against England, and by including Francois [Louw] on the bench, we have a specialist opensider, but also a versatile loose forward that brings a bit more balance to our back row mix."
The Springbok team boasts a total of 451 Test caps, with 339 coming from the backline, while the forwards have 112 caps.
Tell us what you think about the changes by leaving your comments below.
Springbok squad against Australia: Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Dean Greyling, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, Juandre Kruger, Tendai Mtawarira, Ruan Pienaar, Jacques Potgieter, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Jano Vermaak, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Pat Cilliers, Flip van der Merwe, Francois Louw, Johan Goosen, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo
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