Meyer backs youth, praises Giteau

Date published: July 16 2015

South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer has stressed the importance of letting combinations bed in as the Rugby Championship kicks off this week.

For the second game in a row, the Springboks have named Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel together in the backs.

The back three is also unchanged from the side that beat a World XV as coach Meyer highlighted that he is looking for his playmakers to thrive.

"Handré didn't play in the last two Super Rugby games, so the thing for me now is about combinations," the Bok boss said at a press conference.

"Handré, Damian and Jesse were playing together for the first time [last weekend at Newlands], so you want to allow combinations to settle."

Up against the Boks will be recalled Wallaby centre Matt Giteau, who is player Meyer respects and is clearly wary of ahead of Saturday's clash.

"I highly rate Matt Giteau, I think he's an unbelievable player," he added. "He can play at 10 or 12, he's a great playmaker and he's won a lot of trophies, especially with Toulon.

"He's a quality player and a talisman for them, he gets their backline going. He's the type of guy who can also get their backs going, especially with the experience he has."

South Africa's problem area so far in 2015 however has been the second row, with injuries to key personnel leaving them short. Teboho Mohoje covered the position off the bench at Newlands last week but in Brisbane they have Lood de Jager back in the fold, with the Cheetah returning from injury to make the bench.

"It is great to have Lood back. We've been struggling at lock," Meyer continued.

"Last year he had a brilliant season, but was unfortunately injured in the first or second Super rugby game this season. He hasn't played for quite some time and he needed the game time.

"It was a 50/50 call whether to play him last week. Lood isn't quite match fit but he is in superb condition and I'm so relieved that he is back and I'm hoping for a big game from him. He is exciting, he's big and I think he'll have a great game coming in off the bench."