South Africa warm-up for Tests with World XV clash at Newlands
Last Updated: 06/06/14 3:34pm
South Africa will prepare for their two-Test series against Wales with a showdown against former Springboks coach Nick Mallett’s World XV at Newlands on Saturday.
Though billed as an ‘international friendly', there is little to suggest it will be a meek affair with the hosts treating it as they will their Tests against Wales and Scotland, while Mallett remains a competitive campaigner.
Mallett has a proven track record of extracting the best out of players and has assembled a team truly worthy of their jerseys with an array of international talent having to settle for places on the bench.
With only enough time for two practice sessions together, for all their star value, the visitors face a stern challenge against the side ranked second in the world.
South Africa have played against World XV's on three occasions at home since 1977, with the Springboks winning all three matches.
Nevertheless, Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer is adopting a serious approach to Saturday’s clash with veteran duo Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha reforming their second-row partnership.
Returning to lead
With Jean de Villiers ruled out through injury, 110-cap Matfield returns to captain South Africa in his first appearance since retiring after the 2011 World Cup.
Stormers centre Damien de Allende has also withdrawn from the Springboks squad after suffering medial knee ligament damage, leaving JP Pietersen and Francois Steyn to team up in midfield.
Cornal Hendricks, who rose to fame in the HSBC World Sevens Series, earns his first start on the right wing opposite Toulon’s Bryan Habana while Willie le Roux continues at full-back.
Brothers Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis pack down alongside Tendai Mtawarira in the front row, while Francois Louw, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen form a potent back row.
Mallett and assistant coach Alan Solomons have comprised a star-studded line-up for the one-off match with 92-cap Australia international Matt Giteau set to lead the team out.
Toulon fly-half Giteau will form an axis partnership with Castres scrum-half Rory Kockott, while Wallabies duo Drew Mitchell and James O’Connor join All Black international Hosea Gear in a potent back three.
Point to prove
New Zealand’s Rene Ranger joins South African Wyand Olivier in the centres, while Juandre Kruger is the World XV player closest to making the Springboks squad with Meyer hinting the Racing Metro lock would have been called up had Matfield been injured.
Kruger joins compatriot Alistair Hargreaves in the second row, while flanker Mamuka Gorgodze prepares for his move to join Heineken Cup champions Toulon by partnering European Player of the Year Steffon Armitage.
Meanwhile, France fly-half Francios Trinh-Duc and former All Black captain Andrew Hore must settle for places among the replacements for the invitational side.
South Africa: 15 Le Roux; 14 Hendricks, 13 Pietersen, 12 F Steyn, 11 Habana; 10 M Steyn, 9 Pienaar; 1 Mtawarira, 2 B du Plessis, 3 J du Plessis; 4 Botha, 5 Matfield (capt); 6 Louw, 7 Alberts; 8 Vermeulen
Replacements: 16 Brits, 17 Steenkamp, 18 Oosthuizen, 19 Van der Merwe, 20 Burger, 21 Du Preez, 22 Goosen, 23 Mvovo
World XV: 15 O'Connor; 14 Mitchell, 13 Ranger, 12 Olivier, 11 Gear; 10 Giteau (capt), 9 Kockott; 1 Taumalolo, 2 Burden, 3 Hayman; 4 Kruger, 5 Hargreaves; 6 Gorgodze, 7 Armitage; 8 Wilson
Replacements: 16 Hore, 17 Ferreira, 18 Cilliers, 19 Tekori, 20 Lapandry, 21 Cowan, 22 Trinh-Duc, 23 Stanley
Watch South Africa v World XV live from 3:30pm on Sky Sports 1HD