Rugby Union: S Africa keep to formula

Click to follow
The Independent Online
NAAS BOTHA had his wish last night when the South African management named an unchanged team for Saturday's second Test against France at Parc des Princes, writes Steve Bale from Paris. 'I don't think you should change a winning Test team,' the captain said, his Springboks having won the first.

Whether the same team means the same tactics, based on incessant kicking for position by Botha, is another matter. Abie Malan, the manager, made clear his opinion that such an approach would be insufficient second time round. 'Our friends will know we cannot play to the same pattern,' he said.

On the other hand, by resisting the claims of all the aspirants who fitfully played delightful rugby in beating Languedoc 36-15 in Beziers on Tuesday, the selectors appear to have locked themselves in to a conservative strategy in keeping with their selection.

'It's not a question of 'footballers' or pattern,' Malan said. 'It's just a question that we must win the Test. When we won the Test it set the tour on a better footing.'

The only alteration is on the bench, where Hennie le Roux and Ian MacDonald replace Deon Oosthuysen and Botha Rossouw. Le Roux withdrew from the Lyons Test with flu. With his left hand still swollen, Botha did not train last night; but, according to Malan, he is improving rapidly.

Meanwhile, the French federation has made a second approach to the South Africans over the Adri Geldenhuys punch which floored Abdel Benazzi in the first Test, in the vain hope of disciplinary action being taken.

SOUTH AFRICA (v France, Paris, 24 October): H Reece-Edwards (Natal); J Small (Transvaal), D Gerber (Western Province), P Muller (Natal), J Olivier (Northern Transvaal); N Botha (Northern Transvaal, capt), G Wright (Transvaal); J Styger (Orange Free State), W Hills (Northern Transvaal), H Rodgers (Transvaal), A Geldenhuys (Eastern Province), A Malan (Northern Transvaal), W Bartmann (Natal), T Strauss (Western Province), A Richter (Northern Transvaal). Replacements: R du Preez (Natal), H le Roux, T van Rensburg, H Roberts (Transvaal), D Hattingh (Northern Transvaal), I MacDonald (Transvaal).