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Sides Announced For Tri-Nations Opener

Changes galore for Wallabies and Springboks

Posted Jul 20, 2011 by Chris White

The South Africans will consider themselves favourites

The injury-plagued South Africans have handed three players their debuts for the Tri-Nations fixture against Australia in Sydney on Saturday, while the Wallabies have their own problems to deal with having been humiliated last week against Samoa.

Springboks boss Peter de Villiers will give props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger their first starts, along with number eight Ashley Johnson in the game at the Telstra Stadium. The South African squad has been blighted by injuries as de Villiers looks for his best team to try and bring the World Cup back from New Zealand later this year, and has been forced to hand out the new caps on the back of performances in the Super Rugby season. They are not desperation selections by any means, however, with de Villiers saying the team has “a lot of potential” and that those selected are “hungry for the chance.”

John Smit, who has recently signed for English champions Saracens, will lead the side, which does feature the Super Rugby’s joint leading try scorer Bjorn Basson, and Lwazi Mvovo on each wing. More Steyn will play at fly half, while Ruan Pienaar is the other half back.

Australia have reacted to their shock defeat to Samoa by dropping Matt Giteau for the Tri-Nations opener, as coach Robbie Deans wields the axe on those who under-performed, with seven changes in total to the team that started last week.

Quade Cooper is selected in place of Giteau at fly half, while Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor also come into the back line. David Pocock, Rob Simmons and James Horwill come in to the forward line, replacing the benched Matt Hodgson and Nathan Sharpe and the dropped Sitaleki Timani.

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