Rugby: Springboks make two changes, All Blacks delayed

Peter de Villiers has called for a massive improvement from the Boks this Saturday. Photo / Natalie Slade
Peter de Villiers has called for a massive improvement from the Boks this Saturday. Photo / Natalie Slade

The suspension of lock Bakkies Botha and a calf injury to prop Jannie du Plessis have forced South Africa to make two changes to its staring lineup for Saturday's second Tri-Nations rugby test against the All Blacks.

Botha will miss the rest of the Tri-Nations tournament after being banned for nine weeks for headbutting All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan in the first minute of last weekend's first test when the Springboks were thumped 32-12.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has delayed his team announcement until Thursday to allow him to monitor the fitness of injured players.

Utility back Richard Kahui has been ruled out of the test with a shoulder injury while winger Joe Rokocoko, with a hamstring strain, and Cowan, with an abdominal injury, remain in doubt.

"While Richard's shoulder injury has ruled him out of this weekend's test, we are postponing the announcement of the team until Thursday to give the medical staff more time to assess the fitness of the other players," Henry said.

All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson said scans showed Kahui had suffered soft tissue damage to his shoulder and he will see a specialist on Monday.

Botha's place in the Springboks' lineup was taken by Danie Rossouw, who re-forms an established second row partnership with Victor Matfield, while Du Plessis' replacement was C.J. van der Linde.

Backrower Ryan Kankowski joins the reserves in the only other change to the squad.

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers said he was confident his team could come back from the Auckland defeat.

"The way you lose is not as important as how you stand up from such a defeat," de Villiers said.

"The guys know they didn't perform well, they remain proud and they realize that they have hard work ahead of them this week. The All Blacks were very good at the weekend and they did not allow us space to play the way we wanted."

New Zealand: to be named Thursday.

South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Oliver, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ricky Januarie, Pierre Spies, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, C.J. van der Linde, John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, B.J. Botha, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Ruan Pienaar, Butch James, Gio Aplon.

-AP

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