If you had asked Wallabies fans at the start of the year if they’d be happy with three wins, a draw and a loss to start the season nearly everyone would have replied in the affirmative. Last week you might have thought the sky was falling given the angst of many Wallaby supporters. This week we have a different challenge. The South African Barbecuing Behemoths have sashayed into Perth for what many of them think is a home game.
Ewen McKenzie has resisted changing his forwards and I agree. When the New Zealanders get in the mood they were last game nothing can stop them. But a few guys are on very shakey ground. Mr Fardy. Mr Carter.
Kurtley Beale (thankfully) has lost his spot at Flyhalf to Bernard Foley. I’m a fan of Beale’s, but his stint at five eight wasn’t going to work.
Tevita Kuridrani may not be as good a thirteen as Ashley-Cooper but I think the backline looks better with AAC out one.
Nick Phipps replaces Nic White at halfback. I’m not a huge fan of either player but I think Phipps is in better form right now and that will more the compensate for Whites boot. Maybe if he used it a little less…
I’ve tried my best to hate Bismarck du Plessis but the bastard is just so nice! But I’m very glad to see him having a rest on the pine and Adriaan Strauss getting a run. Not that Strauss is a mug by any means. Victor Matfield #OldManRiver is back.Hopefully this is the week where old age catches up with him.
And Ruan Pienaar will be following the big guys around again. He just doesn’t seem to do it a quickly as e used to. You can usually tell how a team plans to play by the flyhalf they pick. This week I give you Morne Steyn. Nuff said right?
Jan Serfontein at out centre. Good player but I’m not sure this will work. And finally Brian Habana’s one hundredth test. My opinion on Habana is pretty much the same as Bismark. I want to hate him but then he flashes that huge smile and talks with humility and you can’t help but like the bastard.
James Slipper 1 Tendai Mtawarira
James Hanson 2 Adriaan Strauss
Sekope Kepu 3 Jannie du Plessis
Sam Carter 4 Eben Etzebeth
Rob Simmons 5 Victor Matfield
Scott Fardy 6 Francois Louw
Michael Hooper (c) 7 Marcell Coetzee
Wycliff Palu 8 Duane Vermeulen
Nick Phipps 9 Ruan Pienaar
Bernard Foley 10 Morne Steyn
Rob Horne 11 Bryan Habana
Matt Toomua 12 Jean de Villiers (capt)
Tevita Kuridrani 13 Jan Serfontein
Adam Ashley-Cooper 14 Cornal Hendricks
Israel Folau 15 Willie le Roux
Reserves Saia Fainga'a 16 Bismarck du Plessis
Pek Cowan 17 Trevor Nyakane
Ben Alexander 18 Marcel van der Merwe
James Horwill 19 Lood de Jager
Scott Higginbotham 20 Warren Whiteley
Matt Hodgson 21 Francois Hougaard
Nic White 22 Pat Lambie
Kurtley Beale 23 Damian de Allende
Kickoff: 7:40PM 06/09/2014
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Ref 1: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 2: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
TMO : Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
THE GAME BREAKER
I’m going to go with our Triple H as the game breaker. Horwill, Hodgson and Higginbotham to bring our boys home strong. Add Beale in the dying stages and you have a recipe for a very strong finish.
THE FEARLESS PREDICTION
I’ve watched the Boks play the Argies and I think we’ll take them. The Kiwis had to bring out their A game and get fully fired up to beat us. They even bought out the scary Haka. The Saffers struggle against Argentina. In the immortal word of Scottish composer Peter Dodds McCormick ‘Australian’s all let us rejoice’.
Wallabies by sixteen.