New-look partnership

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New-look partnership

Post by peggy1258 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:04 am

Scrum-half du Preez missed the entire 2010 international season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Full-back Frans Steyn, wings Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen and centres Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie are also recalled.

With veteran locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha also returning, and Pierre Spies back in the No.8 shirt, South Africa finally look a force again.

"It is a strong team, one of the best we have been able to pick for a while, and yet there are still a few players unavailable, but it's the best we can do right now," Smit said.

"Hopefully, we can use those guys to step it up and use their experience out on the field."

The Boks skipper also called on his side to make a fast start against Australia, who were well beaten by New Zealand in their last outing.

He added: "Things can happen pretty quickly in the Tri-Nations. You can't afford too much time to settle in.

"I was asked the same question two years ago before the British and Irish Lions series, about whether we were ready to play against a team of that stature. Time will tell, but the first 20 minutes (on Saturday) will be important."

Australia coach Robbie Deans has decided to keep faith with the majority of the side that lost to the All Blacks, although there is a recall for Nathan Sharpe.

The lock, 33, was controversially left out for the game in Auckland but returns to the second row in place of Dan Vickerman.

In the only other change to the starting XV, in-form Reds back-rower Scott Higginbotham finally gets his chance at number eight at the expense of Ben McCalman.
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