Leinster home helps Kirchner case

Date published: September 16 2015

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South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer revealed that Zane Kirchner's familiarity with the northern hemisphere helped his case for selection.

Kirchner was named at full-back for the Springboks' opening game of their Rugby World Cup campaign, against Japan, pushing out rival Willie le Roux.

And Meyer admits that the former Bulls number fifteen, who moved to Leinster two years ago, has a leg up on his positional rival because of his adopted home.

"Zane Kirchner has had some stick in the past. But I've chosen him at full-back because after two years playing in Ireland with Leinster he is used to these wet conditions. I've been really impressed with him. He's a good leader and he can also play at 12 or 13," the Bok head coach revealed on Wednesday.

"We know it will be a high-tempo game against Japan. We've studied them hard and we'll treat them as if they were the All Blacks, England or the Wallabies. They will keep the ball and they are skilful and disciplined. They will be a force to be reckoned with."

He added: "This weekend we will try things whatever the scoreboard says. I want to give all the players game time. There is little difference between the 31, they all have qualities and this is the right team to play Japan."

Several of the Boks will go up against former assistant coach Eddie Jones this weekend, who helped lead them to the 2007 World Cup title. But captain Victor Matfield has played down talk that Japan will have an inside track on them.

"We probably know more about Eddie Jones than he does about us but he will be invaluable as a coach to Japan. We know it will be a very tough game this weekend," he stressed.

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