Botha back to boost Boks
Experienced lock set for return against Fiji in Wellington
Last Updated: 15/09/11 5:30pm
Botha will return to the Springboks starting line-up on Saturday
Defending champions South Africa are set for a timely boost with the return of influential second row Bakkies Botha in Saturday's Pool D clash against Fiji.
"We need to make sure we are firing on all cylinders if we want to challenge them. We have got to make sure as a pack that we stand up and we match them physically, mentally and tactically."
Deacon Manu Quotes of the week
An Achilles problem prevented Botha from taking part in the Springboks slender 17-16 win over Wales in their World Cup opener last week.
But the experienced lock will start for his country in Wellington alongside second-row partner Danie Rossouw and is eager to pull on the green and gold jersey again.
"I will still feel a little bit of stiffness," he said Botha. "But it's like that old farm vehicle in the morning - it smokes a bit but, when you drive it, after an hour, it's hot and it can go.
"I definitely know I am ready for this weekend. I truly believe that when you pull on the green and gold jersey you must give 100%, and that is what I am going to give.
"If my heel is not going to make it, it's not going to make it. If it lasts for 80 minutes, it lasts for 80 minutes."
South Africa go into Saturday's clash without lock Victor Matfield, wing Bryan Habana, centre Jean de Villiers and former Bath back Butch James, who are all nursing injuries.
Frans Steyn moves from full-back to inside centre alongside Jaque Fourie, while 20-year-old Pat Lambie is handed the number 15 shirt for his first World Cup start.
Despite South Africa's injury troubles though, Fiji skipper Deacon Manu is still expecting a ferocious encounter at the Westpac Stadium.
"If you look at their 30-man squad, there is strength and depth in a lot of positions," he said. "I know they are missing some of their main players who they've gone to in the past.
"But the guys who have stepped up thoroughly deserve to be there. They are great players in their own right so, in terms of preparing for the game, it's not going to make too much difference for us.
"We need to make sure we are firing on all cylinders if we want to challenge them.
"We have got to make sure as a pack that we stand up and we match them physically, mentally and tactically in all the areas that will let us compete with them on the scoreboard."