Rugby Round-up

With both sides having beaten Ontario and Uruguay, Glasgow Caledonians and Edinburgh Reivers face each other at Fletcher's Field, Toronto today in the final match of their Canadian trip, writes David Kelso.

Glasgow Caledonians have a side selected with the intention of trying out different combinations of players.

''With Barry Irving at full back and Alan Bulloch in the centre, for example, we are continuing with our plan of using the matches to try out players in different positions'' said Glasgow Caledonians chief executive David Jordan.

''We have rested Andy Nicol, while James Craig and Ian McInroy are carrying leg injuries and there is no point in risking them,'' he said.

''It is an exciting back division with a very young look about it, but we are giving everyone a starting run since everyone will have to front up at some time when we are playing the Welsh sides and in the European Cup.'' Team:

B Irving; T Mathewson, A Bulloch, I Jardine, R Kerr; T Hayes, F Stott; G McIlwham, G Scott, W Anderson, S Griffiths, D Burns, J White, G Flockhart, D McFadyen. Replacements: J Stuart, Graeme Beveridge, S Campbell, M Waite, G Blackburn, A Watt, C Docherty.

qCrisis is a word not used lightly in the new South Africa.

However, in a climate of defeat and recrimination, that is exactly what is facing the nation's rugby team as they prepare to face Australia in their final Tri-Nations match at Newlands this afternoon.

Only a year ago, the Springboks were on the march, winning the Tri-Nations en route to a record-equalling 17-match unbeaten run. Now, coach Nick Mallett and his team face the prospect of a fifth consecutive defeat, something that has not happened to South Africa for 34 years.

There are many reasons for such a decline.

Injuries and lack of form have seen many of the old stalwarts like Mark Andrews, Henry Honiball, Japie Mulder and, most recently, Andre Snyman fall by the wayside.

The attrition rate has been such that only five of the team that lost to Wales for the first time ever in July will start on Saturday. Indeed, when Brendan Venter and Jannie de Beer, both recalled after lengthy spells in the wilderness, take their places tomorrow, Mallett will have have used 36 players this season.

There have been self-inflicted wounds too, none more so than the sudden axeing of Gary Teichmann after 36 games as captain.

Australia will be regarded as favourite's for today's match but neither side can ignore the spectre of the All Blacks, whose three victories in the competition have come with consummate ease, and who must now be firm favourites for October's World Cup and the main threat to South Africa's defence of their title.