Boks explain 'weird' bomb squad against Wallabies
REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has revealed the reason behind his unorthodox bench for the Rugby Championship clash against Wallabies on Sunday.
Nienaber made 13 changes to his matchday squad for Sunday’s match – seven in the starting lineup and six on the replacements bench.
The return of Duane Vermeulen, who hasn’t played for the national team since the World Cup Final in 2019, is a big talking point.
The selection of the replacement bench is another unusual aspect of the team.
The Springboks’ bench, famously known as the bomb squad due to their brute strength and massive impact, has helped South Africa to a successful 2019 World Cup trophy, the Rugby Championship title and recently a series win over the British and Irish Lions.
The bench has been a significant aspect and this Sunday will be no different, as Boks opted for their regular six forwards and two backs split on the bench.
However, unlike previously against British and Irish Lions and the Los Pumas, Nienaber has selected three loose forwards on the Springbok bench.
Marco van Staden, Albertus Smith and Jasper Wiese will don the No. 19, No.20 and No.21 Springboks jerseys respectivley.
Retshegofaditswe Nche, Vincent Koch and hooker Malcolm Marx will be the other forward replacements – with no specialist second row replacement.
While the injuries have been one of the reasons for Sunday’s bench selection, the coach admitted Australia’s pace and the tempo is another reason he opted for three loose forwards on the bench.
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“If you look at how Australia play all the Test matches, they play with pace and tempo and massive continuity,” he said.
“They have an awesome skillset, in terms of having the capability to stretch you from touchline to touchline. That was the other reason.
“But it is definitely going to be a high-tempo game.”
Aside from Australia’s pace, South Africa have three locks in the starting XV – with regular lock Franco Mostert starting at flank alongside Siyamthanda Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen.
Mostert will be another line-out option and could be moved to the second row depending on injuries and what is required during the match.
“I know it looks weird having three loose forwards on the bench, but you must remember that one of our locks is playing loose forward for us in the starting line-up in terms of Franco [ Mostert].
“It looks weird. Why would you have three loose forwards on the bench? But we are starting three locks if you put it like that,”