Boks dare Dragons to defend lair

THE Springboks' whistle-stop trip to Wales for Saturday's clash at the Millennium Stadium is like entering a minefield wearing a pair of flip-flops.

THE Springboks' whistle-stop trip to Wales for Saturday's clash at the Millennium Stadium is like entering a minefield wearing a pair of flip-flops.

Leaving on Sunday evening for the one-off Test, the Bok side will have only three practice runs before taking on a Welsh side brimming with internationals.

Coach Peter de Villiers and his selection panel thought out of the box when selecting the squad by combining an exciting mixture of overseas-based players with those playing at home.

Out of the starting XV, six are playing in Europe so there will be very little time for De Villiers and his assistants Dick Muir (backs) and Gary Gold (forwards) to find rhythm in their combinations.

Adversaries in the Super 14 final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday, Andries Bekker and Danie Rossouw combine in the locking position, while at the back of the scrum Joe van Niekerk makes a welcome return.

"All the players are ready to tour," De Villiers said yesterday.

One player who is particularly excited by his national squad call-up is Stormers fullback Gio Aplon, whose selection is a reward for an outstanding Super 14 season.

"It's a dream come true and I am looking forward to it," said the slight Aplon.

Another interesting selection in the side is the recall of Butch James, who will play in the inside centre position.

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