Mapoe back as Boks keep the faith
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Lionel Mapoe will replace Jesse Kriel at outside centre in the only change to the Springbok line-up for the second Test against France in Durban on Saturday.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee named an otherwise unchanged team for the second encounter against Les Bleus at Kings Park.
Mapoe returns to the Springbok starting line-up as replacement for Kriel, who is unavailable after he suffered a blow to the head last Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.
All five players who made their Test debuts last weekend - Andries Coetzee (fullback), Raymond Rhule (right wing), Courtnall Skosan (left wing), Ross Cronje (scrumhalf) and Dillyn Leyds (outside back) - were retained by Coetzee, who said he wanted to maintain continuity and build momentum.
"We kept changes to a minimum and one change to the squad means we can continue to work on our continuity, which is so important," said Coetzee.
"This is a new group, so playing together again means that the important combinations are gaining more experience. It is also nice to reward good performances and all of them deserve another opportunity."
Coetzee said the Springboks worked hard during training this week and called for improvements in all areas of their game, especially as the French are expected to be bolstered this week with the inclusion of several players from Clermont and Toulon, who were not available for the opening Test - as they played in the Top 14 Final and arrived in South Africa just days before the opening match of the three-Test series.
With Kriel not available for the Durban encounter, the Springbok coach explained that the decision to select Mapoe next to Serfontein was an easy one.
"Jan Serfontein had a very good match at inside centre in Pretoria and we wanted a specialist at No.13 as replacement for Jesse, so Mapoe is a logical choice. It also means we're preventing making two changes to the team," said Coetzee.
The Springbok coach reckons France will no doubt increase their physicality and effort in the second Test.
"The forward battle will always be a very important part of the game," said Coetzee.
"We know we will be up against a very well prepared French team in the second Test and we are readying ourselves for that. They would like to bounce back and we would like to continue with our processes. Both teams have a lot to too play for.
"Although not perfect, I'm pleased with the set-pieces and expect a huge onslaught from the French in both areas. We created a number of scoring opportunities, which is a great positive, and hopefully our execution will be better this time."
South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee , 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds.
Date: Saturday, June 17
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 French time, 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)