4 Aug 2008

Hansen says Springboks favourite to win Tri-Nations

11:53 am on 4 August 2008

The All Blacks are back at the top of the Tri-Nations after Saturday night's 39-10 win over the Wallabies but the assistant coach Steve Hansen says their next opponents are better placed to take the title off them.

Hansen says the Springboks are well placed to take the Tri-Nations title, with three home games in a row, one against the All Blacks in Cape Town and then games against Australia in Johannesburg and Durban.

Hansen says the Tri-Nations competition has a history of teams winning at home.

The All Blacks leave at the end of the week to play the Springboks in Cape Town early on August the 17th.

The 26-man squad for the game will be announced later in the week with Rudi Wulf, who injured a knee playing for North Harbour on Friday, and Leon MacDonald in doubt.

Hansen says it has been decided to take three halfbacks to South Africa. They will be Andrew Ellis, Jimmy Cowan and Piri Weepu.

Only two hookers will be taken with Tony Woodcock to take the throw ins and John Afoa to be hooker if Andrew Hore or Kevan Mealamu are injured.

Meanwhile the Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has dropped three World Cup stars from his squad - the versatile backs Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn and prop Gurthro Steenkamp.