Tue 5 Jul 2022 | 12:04

Bok team shows 14 changes

Bok team shows 14 changes
Tue 5 Jul 2022 | 12:04
Bok team shows 14 changes
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Jacques Nienaber has dropped the biggest selection bombshell since he took over as head coach from Rassie Erasmus in 2020.

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Only one player, veteran lock Eben Etzebeth, remains in the starting XV from last week’s 32-29 win over Wales.

There are 14 changes to the run-on team for the second Test in Bloemfontein on Saturday – with flyhalf Handre Pollard, who returns to the squad after not featuring in the first Test, will take over the captaincy from Siyamthanda Kolisi.

Nienaber named two uncapped players in his starting lineup and a further four among the replacements as he reshuffled his squad to build depth.

Two players who have been in hot form recently, Kurt-Lee Arendse (outside back) and Evan Roos (No 8), have been handed starts, while Ntuthuko Mchunu (prop), Ruan Nortje (lock), Deon Fourie (utility forward) and Grant Williams (scrumhalf) could make their debuts off the bench.

Apart from Etzebeth, who will earn his 99th cap, three other players from the matchday-23 retained their places in the squad.

Malcolm Marx, prop Vincent Koch and utility back Damian Willemse has been included on the bench.

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Nienaber stressed that while building winning momentum was vital as the international season picks up steam, one of the key facets for the team was building depth, especially with an eye on next year’s World Cup.

“We said from the outset that we needed to strike a balance between giving our talented young players an opportunity to show what they can do at international level, and winning,” said Nienaber.

“If one looks at the balance between players who have played at this level and those who have performed consistently well for their franchises and clubs, I think we have a nice balance in this squad.

“A number of these players have been with us for a few seasons, while others travelled with us last season to Australia for the Rugby Championship and the year-end tour, and then there are a few new faces who showed during the season that they have the potential to rise to this level of the game, so we are excited to see what they can do on Saturday.

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“Wales showed last week that they are fighters and can go for the full 80 minutes and we are expecting nothing different from them this week.

“This will certainly be a good test for the younger players in the group to measure themselves against some of the best players in Wales, some of whom played for the British & Irish Lions, so everyone knows they will be in for a proper Test on Saturday.”

Nienaber again opted for a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench, with Willemse’s versatility seeing him able to cover flyhalf, centre and fullback, while Williams, who has been waiting in the wings at scrumhalf, provides cover at for his provincial team-mate Jaden Hendrikse.

“We are delighted to see these players get an opportunity at this level and I believe if they play to their potential, they will bolster our depth going forward,” said Nienaber.

“They are all very excited at the prospect of wearing the green and gold, but they also know what Wales will bring on the day and that every opportunity will be important.”

On Pollard handing the captaincy, the Bok coach said: “Handre is one of our most experienced players and has been part of our core leadership group for a number of years now, I’m sure he will slot into the role with ease.”

Looking ahead at the match, Nienaber said: “Wales will certainly gain confidence from their performance last week, and I have no doubt they will feel aggrieved by the fact that they lost out so narrowly, so we know we have to produce a top-class performance to win this weekend.

“The set pieces are going to be a key area once again, and we have identified the areas that we need to improve on and have already started working on those facets of the game.

“They are a team that keeps going until the final whistle, so we expect them to push us to the limit, but we know what our standards are as a team, and every player knows what is expected of him.

“It is definitely going to take a full 80-minute effort to win the match, and if we do well, hopefully, the results will take of themselves.”

South Africa: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Kurt Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Jaden Henrikse, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Deon Fourie, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Damian Willemse.

Date: Saturday, July 9
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17.00 (16.00 UK time; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

 

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