Boks spring surprise on the wing for Wallabies clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has revealed his team for their Rugby Championship Round Three clash against the Wallabies in Adelaide on Saturday.
Nienaber has handed Warrick Gelant a start on the right wing and recalled scrumhalf Francois de Klerk in the only two changes to his starting team.
Gelant takes over from Jesse Kriel on the wing, while De Klerk has completed his return to play protocol after missing the second Test against New Zealand due to concussion and slots in for Jaden Hendrikse.
Nienaber also made three changes to the replacements bench, which features a split of five forwards and three backs, where Hendrikse takes over from Herschel Jantjies, while Elton Jantjies will provide flyhalf cover and Frans Steyn additional cover at the back.
Willie le Roux and Jasper Wiese are not in the matchday 23 this weekend.
“This is a very important clash for us to set the tone for our Rugby Championship tour and we feel that continuity in selection is important to build momentum in our campaign,” said Nienaber.
“Warrick was in good form for the Stormers earlier this season and he has been working hard at training, so we thought it would be good to give him a run on the wing. He also combined well with Damian Willemse in the United Rugby Championship, so we are excited to see what they offer us in the match.
“Faf, meanwhile, is back from concussion and his experience will be important in this game.
“We also feel it is important to give the likes of Ox [Nche], Joseph [Dweba] and Duane [Vermeulen] another opportunity to further build combinations and give them valuable game time as we build toward the Rugby World Cup next year.”
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Of the decision to switch from a six-two to a five-three split on the bench, Nienaber said: “We looked at what Australia will bring to the game, and that combined with our need to give Elton and Frans Steyn some vital game time, prompted us to select five forwards and three backs on the bench.
“With Franco [Mostert] and Kwagga [Smith] on the bench, we will have cover at lock and loose forward, while Frans Steyn’s versatility will also be handy as he can cover centre and fullback. These changes obviously mean that Willie, Jasper and Herschel lose out, but we know what we have in them and what they bring to the team.”
Nienaber expected a big onslaught from the Wallabies who will be equally determined to bounce back from their defeat against Argentina and said: “Australia are always a tough force at home and the fact that we haven’t beaten them here since 2013 is evidence of that.
“Much like us, they will also want to bounce back after going down against Argentina, so we expect them to come out firing. The fact that this will be the first Test between the teams in Adelaide will serve as extra motivation for both teams this weekend, so we are preparing for another epic encounter against them.”
Nienaber added: “We had a thorough review of our last match against New Zealand, and we have identified the areas of our game in which we need improve. We know we need to make a big step-up in the quality of our performance to start the tour on a positive note, and that is a big objective for us this weekend.”
South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Warrick Gelant, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Francois Steyn.
Date: Saturday, August 27
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Kick-off: 15.00 (07.30 SA time; 05.30 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)