Boks 'need for speed' key in Brits selection
WORLD CUP REACTION: The need for a more mobile loose trio against the ‘expansive’ Namibian team is at the heart of the decision to name Schalk Brits at No.8.
Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus made wholesale changes to his team, as he features the bulk of his fringe players against Africa neighbours Namibia on Saturday.
The most significant is naming veteran hooker Brits at No.8 and also giving him the captaincy.
Erasmus said there is always a need to “rotate” hookers and sometimes the third hooker doesn’t really get game time.
“This gives us a chance to rest other guys who are vital in the big games,” the Bok coach told a media briefing at the team’s base in Nagoya, Japan.
Skipper Siyamthanda Kolisi also needs another 20 to 30 minutes game time to get him up to speed with his match fitness.
However, it is a chance to ease the workload of players like Duane Vermeulen and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who are looking in dire need of a break.
Bongi Mbonambi, as the second hooker behind Malcolm Marx, has to get a chance to start and go “60 or 70 minutes”, with Brits set to move from No.8 to hooker late in the game.
“He [Schalk] covers a few positions and this gives us the opportunity to give other players proper game time,” Erasmus said.
The captaincy is not a surprise as he was already earmarked for this role when he captained the Boks in a warm-up match against Argentina in Pretoria back in August.
“He brings a calming influence on what you could call the fringe players,” the coach said, adding: “That is what he did.
“He does have that effect on them and hopefully that comes through against Namibia.”
Erasmus said, having done his homework on Namibia, the need for line-out options are not as important in this game.
“We can use Francois [Louw] and Kwagga [Albertus Smit],” he said.
“If we do struggle, we can bring Franco Mostert off the bench.
“We also have some tall guys in [locks] Rudolph [Rudolph Snyman] and Lodewyk [de Jager].
“We think we will manage that [the line-outs].
“What it does give us is a lot of speed over the park.
“We noticed Namibia looks like they want to play and have a go.
“So we need the pace to combat that and having Schalk and Kwagga Smith in the back row will give us what we require against these opponents.”
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