The Wallabies expect it to rain kicks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (0100 Sunday AEST) after South Africa named long-range bomber Frans Steyn at fullback for the Tri-Nations Test.
Steyn returns to the Springboks starting line-up at the expense of the exciting Gio Aplon after a storm over the returning No.15’s release from French club Racing Metro and reports of him needing to patch up his relationship with Boks coach Peter de Villiers.
Experienced centre Jaque Fourie also returns to the South African line-up, relegating Juan de Jongh to the bench.
Steyn and namesake Morne Steyn at five-eighth can be expected to send the ball into near orbit at altitude in Pretoria, fully testing the likely Australian back three of the inexperienced Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor and Drew Mitchell.
Speaking before the Springboks team was announced, Wallabies assistant Richard Graham said he would be surprised if Frans Steyn started the Test.
But he had no doubts about the contribution the Wallabies’ drop goal nemesis – he sank the Australians with two long three-pointers in 2007 – could make.
“The one thing he does bring to the game is a physical presence, he’s a big man, and the other thing is just his kicking, certainly at altitude that will give them an advantage,” Graham told a press conference at the Australian side’s Cape Town base.
Graham warned, though, that accuracy would be paramount if the Springboks headed down that road.
“One thing about the South Africans is they chase the ball probably better than any other side,” he said.
“If you kick well, always give yourself a chance.
“If you kick poorly against any side and the side has got the ability in the back three and also the mindset to run it, you’re going to be compromised, you’re going to be hurt.”
Australia were less surprised by the inclusion of Fourie at outside centre.
“He’s played 50 Tests, he’s proved himself on the world stage and the Boks, like us, are in a position where they need to win so it makes sense that they’ll bring one of their best players back into the side,” Graham said.
The Wallabies name their side on Thursday.
South Africa: Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe, Jannie du Plessis, John Smit (capt), Gurthro Steenkamp. Res: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Danie Rossouw, Ryan Kankowski, Ricky Januarie, Butch James, Juan de Jongh.