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Bakkies back for Boks


Bakkies Botha (34) and Flip van der Merwe will be the locks facing Scotland on Sunday while JP Pietersen will reach his 50th cap when he runs out at Murrayfield.

JP Pietersen will on Sunday become the 28th player to reach 50 Springbok Test caps when he runs out against Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in the second match of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

The 27-year-old Pietersen, who will return from Japan to Durban to play for The Sharks in Vodacom Super Rugby next season, made his Test debut on 9 September 2006 against Australia in Johannesburg when he was only 20.

Pietersen, a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007, will become the fifth player this season to earn his 50th Test cap for South Africa. Only two other wingers, Bryan Habana and Breyton Paulse, have reached this milestone for the Springboks.

“This is really a magnificent achievement for one of the many world-class wingers South African rugby has produced,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“For more than seven years, JP has been one of the most consistent players for the Springboks. He always gives everything he has for his country and this is just reward for the hard work and dedication he’s put in over the years. Was it not for injuries, JP would probably have played many more Tests for South Africa”

As anticipated, Meyer made a total of five changes to the starting line-up, while two more are possible because of injury niggles.

In the tight five, Bakkies Botha returns for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, while Gurthrö Steenkamp and Adriaan Strauss will start at Murrayfield. Eben Etzebeth, Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis are on the bench.

In the backline, Willie le Roux takes over at fullback with Pat Lambie shifting to flyhalf. A final call on the availability of Morné Steyn (back) and Willem Alberts (shoulder) will be made on Saturday.

If Alberts is unfit to start, Siya Kolisi will take his place on the side of the scrum. Marcell Coetzee has been included on the bench in another rotational change with Kolisi, who will sit out if Alberts is passed fit. Steyn has been included on the bench pending a fitness test on Saturday.

“We said from the start of the tour that we were going to make a few changes for this Test,” said Meyer.

“We need to keep players fresh and motivated. Willie and Pat both did well after we lost Morné last weekend and deserve another opportunity on Sunday.

“Gurthrö and Adriaan, who will take over the vice-captaincy as well, have been part of the squad for a long time and will slot in easily. Furthermore, it has been great to have Bakkies back. His enthusiasm has been contagious and the younger guys have already learned a lot from spending time with him.

“We got our tour off to a good start last week against Wales in Cardiff and the focus this week has been on further improvement in a number of key areas of the game, most notably our discipline. In the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, we conceded the fewest penalties, but last week against Wales we were penalised too much. It’s something that is very important to us and we are working very hard on our discipline.”

The Springbok team to face Scotland in Edinburgh is:




Test Caps

Test points


Willie le Roux




JP Pietersen




Jaque Fourie




Jean de Villiers (captain)




Bryan Habana




Pat Lambie




Fourie du Preez




Duane Vermeulen




Willem Alberts / Siya Kolisi

28 / 9

30 / 0


Francois Louw




Flip van der Merwe




Bakkies Botha




Frans Malherbe




Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain)




Gurthrö Steenkamp





Bismarck du Plessis




Tendai Mtawarira




Coenie Oosthuizen




Eben Etzebeth




Marcell Coetzee




Ruan Pienaar




Morné Steyn




JJ Engelbrecht




Stats and facts:

• The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 667 Test caps (412 in the backline and 255 in the forwards), while there are a further 278 caps worth of experience on the bench.

• South Africa and Scotland last met on 15 June 2013 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit during the Castle Lager Incoming Series. The Springboks outscored Scotland by 30-17 and three tries to two.

• JP Pietersen will be playing in his 50th Test for South Africa. He played 47 of the previous 49 on the wing and two at fullback.

• Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 79 Tests in this position. He will be the captain for the 23rd consecutive Test, which will put him in fourth place on the list of SA Captains behind John Smit (83), Gary Teichmann (36) and Francois Pienaar (29). Jean and Jaque Fourie will also extend their SA record of 27 Tests as a centre-pairing.

• Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 92 Tests in this position and if he scores a try, will extend his record of 53 Test tries for South Africa.

• If he takes to the field, Morné Steyn will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok flyhalf, with 51 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will also extend his record of eight Test tries as a flyhalf for South Africa.

• If he takes to the field and scores a try Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker.

• If he scores a try, Gurthrö Steenkamp will extend his own record of six tries as a prop for South Africa.

• Bakkies Botha last played for South Africa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand against Namibia, on 22 September 2011. .

• If Jaque Fourie scores a try he will extend his record of 28 Test tries for South Africa as a centre.

• The referee is Jėrôme Garcės of France. This will be his second Test involving South Africa – the first was the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against Australia on 28 September this year at DHL Newlands in Cape Town, which the Springboks won by 28-8.

• Springbok Test match records at Murrayfield :

o Most points – 26 (2t, 8c) by Percy Montgomery on 6 December 1997 against Scotland.

o Most tries – two, by six players, the last was by Adriaan Strauss on 17 November 2012 against Scotland.

o Most conversions – eight by Percy Montgomery on 6 December 1997 against Scotland.

o Most penalty goals – four by Morné Steyn on 20 November 2010 against Scotland.

o Most drop goals – three by Jaco van der Westhuyzen 27 November 2004 against Scotland.

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  1. @Bekke:


    Typical HM: Belt, braces and a parachute on standby.
    Ideal chance to play Serfontein, Engelbrecht, Coetzee,
    Steph in EE’s place on the bench etc.

  2. Maybe the Boks must play a few vs Romania, Canada, USA for experimenting.
    Mind you, Namibia will be even safer.

  3. We way too safe! Against France our best side will play. No experimenting there. Plus; I thought the Tour was a WC trial for some?

  4. Agree with the posts above but I suppose it could be argued that introducing 34 year old Bakkies back into the side is a form of experimentation. Maybe he will show that he is another Brad Thorn but somehow I think not. Two years out from the next RWC is this really the type of experimentation you want though? Can just imagine the outcry in NZ if Steve Hansen were to bring back Brad Thorn and leave out one of his young gun locks like Brodie Retallick or Romano who is back in the mix against the Poms.

    I do like having Lambie at flyhalf though and I guess we need to praise that move even if it was a back injury to Steyn that brought it on.

  5. After 12 minutes against Wales PSdT is now out of the matchday squad altogeteher. Not sure I get the thinking behind this. He has to be the future and the one of the main Bok lock at RWC 2015. WHat happened to being old enough if you are good enough?

    Funny how certain players like Coetzee last year and Malherbe against Wales can start their Bok careers with a bang, while a guy like Pieter-Steph have to be “managed”.

  6. Am I the only one who read that Heyneke sees Eben and Pieter steph as lock partners in the long run? That he believes they could become the best lock pairing in the world and he wants Psdt as a 5?

    Jees that would maybe explain psdt out and etsebeth as cover for bakkies on the bench? But as allways it is easier to make fun of the bok coach than think. The same thing happened to PdV, same with JW. With both I defended their choices and some on here as well, but with Heyneke it seems winning isnt enough anymore. He started with a host of retired players, had to find replacements, yet in only his second year in charge the Boks have improved massively. Lets see what he can do rather than complain about each and every team he picks.

    We keep on asking for experiments, yet what happens if the Boks lose to the Scots? We blame him for choosing an inexperienced side? Because that is what a Bok fan will do. Each and everyone of you asking for experimentation will be on here complaining for weeks, even years should we lose.

  7. @Aldo:

    When is this “long run” you speak of? This would have been an ideal opportunity to give PSdT a bit of run in a test.

    As for your Eben on for Bakkies argument, Bakkies can come off and Flip move to 4 when PSdT came on in the second half.

    By the way, are we not allowed to give our opinions on the squad and say where we differ with what Heyneke is doing? Since when is this not allowed anymore? For sure Heyneke is doing a stellar job at the moment and he obviously, dare I say it, has a plan going forward towards 2015, but does not mean I will agree with every selection he makes going forward and I should be allowed to question and comment, not so?

    Best part is, if my selections were not to work out, my job is not on the line, unlike Heyneke’s.

  8. No problem with questioning etc, my problem is that it’s never just questioning. It is a constant nagging and complaining. It irritates the hell out of me. But to each his own, just sometimes I wish we Bok supporters would give credit where it is due.

  9. How’s this bench?

    Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Pienaar, Morné Steyn, JJ Engelbrecht

    Pretty strong.

  10. @Aldo:

    Thinking about it, I hear what you are saying. Lots of fans don’t just question, it is contestant criticism.

    Almost like one poster on here and his posts on JdV.

  11. This whole “thinking about the future” that so many fans spout, is as dumb as you can get.

    Every year, in rugby is the same. The future is just like the present, just with different names and faces. If a coach is then, always to sacrifice the present in service of the future, he will never arrive at an experienced team, because for all presents, there will always be a more important future.

    Just when do do guys feel, this future you’re talking about will have arrived?
    World cup 2015?

    Three difficult games! That’s all a WC title consists of. Luck plays a major part in knock-out games. Much may go wrong. A drop-kick, a referee call or a pizza. Any of the both may make or break your campaign. A coach who stakes his legacy on luck like that should be fired immediately.

    Fans don’t really care about the future either. We judge coaches on the present and the past. That’s all there is. The future HM is working towards is one in which the past looks better than the past of the present. One in which it will read: “Bok winning ratio, 72-74%”, instead of “65-67%”.

    If he gets himself there by the end of 2015, then WC or no WC, SARU will offer him his job back.

  12. Timeo, Aldo & Morne = Well done. Be careful, people might start to think you guys know something about rugby.

  13. Eish, the déjà vu flashes are coming fast and furious. Feeling dizzy. Better sit down.


  14. The next 12 months will tell us if HM is a cut above his predecessors or not. His ratio right now, is almost exactly the same as PdV and JW had at the same point. They both lost some critical matches on their Nov. tours and had fairly poor 3rd seasons. HM and his team will want to buck this trend and in 2014 separate themselves from Bok teams 2010 and 2006.

  15. @Timeo:

    If you have the time, go study the guys Meyer has brought through in just 20 weeks (before the EOYT this year – SA coach has 12 weeks of a year with the Boks).

    Consider the depth in combinations and individual positions we enjoy (depth and experience in and as combinations are far more vital though) against any previous era post Mallet.

    The fact that yes, we are still currently behind the All Blacks, but the strides we made in just two years (if we beat Scotland and France it will be two seasons we are undefeated on our EOYT – when last did this happen?).

    One final thought… Which South African Super Rugby coach ‘experiments’ in the Super Rugby competition? Every single coach picks the best available team he has at his disposal every single week for the best part of 5 months, experimentation for them is done at Currie Cup level and even then there is not much of that happening in my opinion.

    Why in the hell should our national coach ‘experiment’ at test level? Especially if he only has 12 weeks a year with the team?

  16. Craven
    Have a look at jeans try last sat
    See how the disbelief just blossomed
    on his face whe he actually
    didn’t drop it.

    If I wanted a captain who can
    run straight into the oppo
    He is first choice.

  17. @Morné:

    You asked why in the hell should our national coach ‘experiment’ at test level? Especially if he only has 12 weeks a year with the team?

    The answer Morne is because coaches of teams above the Boks in world ranking are doing it. Experimentation is not really an apt description of what Hansen and co do it is more like testing combinations and testing players playing out of position (eg Ben Smith playing centre instead of wing etc).

    However having said that some of what has been said above is correct. The Boks have always had a more conservative approach as has Meyer which probably explains the win at all costs v the Scots attitude rather than take a chance and building depth by exposing new players. The Scots have improved but hell are they now so good that we have to cast aside any thinking outside the box out of fear of losing to them?

  18. What is all the bollocks above about?

    Safety first and no experimentation?

    – Bakkies
    – Bench hooker
    – Bench 10
    – Out of sorts winger
    – Out of sorts 13
    – Bench loose-forward
    – Leftfield 15
    – Greenhorn tight-head
    – Out of sorts loose-head

    Need I continue????????

  19. @bryce_in_oz: Geez Bryce who pissed in your porridge this morning? Your analysis makes this team selection sound like desperation instead of experimentation and yet it is the same 23 that took on Wales with a swop in the bench 8. We all know the coach can bring his “rested” first choice players on when he likes but as he has said, the short turnaround of 5 days after Sunday’s game was taken into account.

    You may have missed some of the discussion, but as the header above runs, earlier there was some debate about the wisdom of bringing an aging Bakkies back into the fold at the expense of P-S du Toit. While some think Bakkies is going to become another Brad Thorn and do us proud at RWC 2015 at age 36, others think PSdT should be given more exposure. We are allowed to differ on this site are we not?

  20. @out wide:

    Let’s consider for a second the boys in various positions either having been introduced, re-introduced and played under Meyer since 2012;

    Front Row:



    Du Preez

    De Jongh

    Back three:
    Le Roux

    95% made the starting 15 (let alone 23) under Meyer in 22 tests.

    A host of these including Eben, Juandre, Marcel, Potgieter, Vermeulen, Goosen, Taute, Engelbrecht, Arno, Jano, Le Roux, Trevor, Malherbe, Elton, Kolisi, Serfontein, Coenie, Cilliers, Mvovo made their debut under Meyer.

    This is just from the top of my head, I might have even missed a couple of names here.

    I would love to compare this against New Zealand in the last two years and see if their numbers exceed this to lay rest to this argument of Meyer not ‘experimenting’ during his time in charge or not introducing new talent.

    From where I sit, he is building a formidable squad, not only up to 2015 and the RWC, but one that will represent the Boks for a very long time.

  21. Still virtually same team as the one against Wales.
    Scots asks for a bit more blooding.
    Only Malherbe (sort of forced) and Lambie at 10
    (forced) and probably Kolisi (forced) getting it.
    And Coetzee on the bench.

    BTW Goosen is not training with the Boks, only running
    sidelines. Slight injury. AGAIN. Methinks his frail
    body won’t make it far.

  22. @Boertjie:

    In the front row you have a guy going into his second test, the 2nd choice hooker who benched for the last couple of tests deserving a run and the replacement loosehead (Beast certainly deserves a rest). Not sure what you want changed there from what already has been changed.

    In the locks the coach wants to see if Bakkies, who has been playing great rugby in France (won the HC last year) is still test material – great experiment – loads of experience let’s see where he is.

    The only other locks on tour that can call line-outs are Flip and PSDT – PSDT made his debut off the bench last week so let’s rather just conduct one experiment here please. We can still look at PSDT in Super Rugby (not Bakkies).

    Kolisi and Marcel are the back-up loosies on tour – coach’s call on who starts.

    Lambie would always have been given a start against the Scots – last week’s injury to Morne means that changed. I cannot see how folks could be unhappy to see Lambie given another shot. Fourie is his partner (MOTM last week, most experienced 9 we have) rather than a struggling Pienaar.

    Serfontein is a 12, so if he had to start it would have been in place of JDV who is the captain and since you already benched your vice-captain (Bismarck) it makes no sense to start Serfontein. You also give Lambie experience on his inside and outside to really make a case (if there is one to be made).

    Engelbrecht did nothing to excite so far this year in the 13 jersey. Giving Jaque as much time to judge where he is makes perfect sense.

    Willie who started a lot of tests at wing gets a shot at 15. It is between him, Gio, Lambie and Kirchner who will wear that jersey at the RWC. Our two most experienced wings will support him.

    So with Scotland you give your second choice hooker a decent run again, your tight-head replacement (which we have zero of after Jannie) gets another run, and you rest your first choice loose-head.

    At lock Eben get’s a well deserved rest, you can see where Bakkies is and you are safe with an experienced guy calling the line-outs.

    At loosie a contracted Bok gets a run supported by experienced guys in the combination.

    Lambie gets the best chance to stake a case and shine between the most experienced 9 and 12.

    At center Mossie gets another go where JJ did not impress this whole year.

    Willie gets a run at 15 to stake his claim while JP is reminded what test match rugby is all about.

    There are plenty of ‘experimentation’ going on with a lot of questions possibly answered.

    Same team? Boring options? Safety first?

    I am not sure how you guys see this…

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