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Tough calls but De Villiers happy

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Sportal.co.nz     18 Jul 2008     Getty Images

It will be South Africa's last match on this trip and coming off a win over New Zealand on Saturday night, it wants to continue its impressive form.

De Villiers has left Percy Montgomery out of the 22 opting for Conrad Jantjes at fullback, with Pierre Spies taking over No.8 from Joe van Niekerk and World Cup-winning centre Francois Steyn replaces injured Adrian Jacobs.

The hooker spot could be the concern for the Springboks after Bismarck du Plessis was suspended. Schalk Brits replaces him to start with Adriaan Strauss joining the squad on the bench.

While some decisions were tough, de Villiers was confident he had the right mix and did not believe the long trip from Dunedin to Perth should affect the team come Saturday night.

"We had a tough one last Saturday, and then a long flight and you don't know what's going to be left in the legs of the guys. We had almost 13 hours on the flight so we have to cover everything as you just don't know what will happen," de Villiers said.

"Before we came here we always said Pierre will play in the Australian game. He is the right kind of guy to play in Australia. We took the opportunity to freshen up the bench for this last game of the trip.

"We always said we would select the guys horses for courses and Conrad had a very good first game and Percy did in the second, so we don't have to justify what we did there."

De Villiers was reasonably impressed with what he saw from the Wallabies against Ireland and France, but has picked up on some areas to exploit - just don't expect him to reveal anything publicly.

"It was a typical Wallabies side from what I saw. They kept the ball for 12 to 14 phases, they wear you down and their execution is always brilliant. They have a great all round team, draw energy from each other and we are in for a tough game," he said.

"We have definitely pinpointed some strengths and weaknesses, that's what we are paid to do, but that is our bedroom business and we don't want to discuss our bedroom business in public."

Captain Victor Matfield is confident himself and Bakkies Botha can do well in the line outs against Nathan Sharpe and James Horwill, despite the Springboks playing their third best hooker.

"We had a good week with Schalk and his throwing is looking very good at the moment. Adriaan has also had a throwing session with us and he is a great throw from back home, so we are very happy," Matfield said.

"The one thing that will be difficult is that we don't know what to expect from the Australians in their line out as we haven't seen them under the new laws, so we will have to see on Saturday what they come up with."