Botha fit to return for Boks

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has told his players to forget about last season historic 3-0 whitewash of the mighty All Blacks as they prepare to launch their defence of the Tri-Nations title in Auckland on Saturday. [more]

Botha fit to return for Boks

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has told his players to forget about last season historic 3-0 whitewash of the mighty All Blacks as they prepare to launch their defence of the Tri-Nations title in Auckland on Saturday.

The world champions added the Tri-Nations crown to the Webb Ellis Trophy win they secured in France in 2007 and the 2-1 series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2009 to firmly establish themselves as the team to beat on the world stage.

They launch their title defence with three away fixtures, starting with the first of two games in New Zealand against the All Blacks at Eden Park this weekend.

Locks Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw have both been declared fit and included in the Springbok match 22. Botha has recovered from a hamstring strain to rejoin his Bulls second row partner Victor Matfield in the engine room, whilst Rossouw has overcome a hip flexor to take his place on the bench.

Zane Kirchner returns at fullback in place of Gio Aplon, Wynand Olivier replaces Juan de Jongh at inside centre and Matfield resumes his familiar role in place of Andries Bekker after being rested for the second Test against Italy last month.

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“If you look backwards you will go backwards. Last year’s results are in the past and we face a tough new challenge on Saturday, as it always is against the All Blacks,” said De Villiers at the team announcement.

The return of Botha, who was banned for his dangerous charge into British & Irish Lions prop Adam Jones in the second Test in Pretorialast year, is seen as vital to the champions as they seek to continue their psychological advantage over the All Blacks at the line-out.

Springboks

15 Zane Kirchner
14 Jean de Villiers
13 Jaque Fourie
12 Wynand Olivier
11 Bryan Habana
10 Morné Steyn
9 Ricky Januarie
1 Gurthrö Steenkamp
2 John Smit (capt)
3 Jannie du Plessis
4 Bakkies Botha
5 Victor Matfield
6 Schalk Burger
7 Francois Louw
8 Pierre Spies

Replacements
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle
17 BJ Botha
18 Andries Bekker
19 Danie Rossouw
20 Ruan Pienaar
21 Butch James
22 Gio Aplon.

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