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South Africa v Romania - teams and prediction

PREVIEW: Defending champions South Africa are determined to put aside any off-field distractions on Sunday, when they face minnows Romania in a World Cup Round Two match in Bordeaux.

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The Springboks suffered two major injury setbacks this past week – with hooker Malcolm Marx ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after a freak training ground mishap and lock Eben Etzebeth set to be sidelined for another week after injuring his shoulder in the Round One win over Scotland last Sunday.

Coach Jacques Nienaber said Marx’s tournament-ending knee injury had not had an impact on preparations for the face-off with The Oaks.

“When the injury happened it didn’t affect our team going into this match, at all,” Nienaber told a media briefing this week.

“We’re fully focused on Romania because we should show them that respect.

“We should also show that respect to the players that we selected to play in that match.

“So we’re not talking about anything other than Romania,” he added.

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Nienaber said they have some ‘definitive objectives’ for the game – with the most obvious being to secure victory.

“Points difference might come into the equation in this pool,” he said of the need for an emphatic win.

“We need to bank the win against Romania, but there is some technical and tactical stuff we want to get out of this game.

“That is our challenge, to focus on ourselves to ensure we get what we want out of this game.”

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Getting World Cup game time into some players is another important factor for Nienaber – Marvin Orie, Deon Fourie, Jasper Wiese, Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams and Canan Moodie will make their first appearances at the World Cup.

Ox Nche and Marco Van Staden, who played off the bench against Scotland last week, will have their first starts.

(Watch Jacques Nienaber preview the South Africa versus Romania game …)

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“They must get used to the pressure,” Nienaber told @rugby365com, adding: “It is a completely different type of pressure than any game or tournament that you have ever played in.

“From a technical and tactical point of view, there are some thing we want to get out of this game.

“It puts ‘internal’ pressure on us to ensure we get something out of this game.”

Romania are looking for a first World Cup victory since 2015 and Andre Gorin makes his tournament debut on the flank, less than three months from his 36th birthday – to counter the Boks, who have Deon Fourie, the utility forward that turns 37 in just over a week.

At the other end of the experience scale, Romanian coach Eugen Apjok handed an opportunity to 14 players aged 26 or under for the match.

“We know what we’re expecting,” Gorin said.

“It’s a chance to play against big nations. We don’t play big nations every day.

“We can’t make a points objective, just try to do better than last week, but supporting the youngsters,” he added.

* (Watch Episode Two of the Boks Office show – featuring legends Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers, with host Hanyani Shimange by CLICKING HERE or visit RugbyPass TV for so much more!

Players to watch

For South Africa: Nienaber made wholesale changes from the team that beat Scotland in Round One last Sunday – with the selection of all four scrumhalves in his matchday squad the big talking point. Grant Williams starts on the wing and Faf de Klerk is covering flyhalf from the bench. Cobus Reinach starts in the No.9 shirt, with Grant Williams being promoted from the bench to the right wing in 14 personnel changes to the starting lineup after last weekend’s opening win against Scotland. Jaden Hendrikse and De Klerk are on the bench for Sunday’s match. Nienaber has only Damian Willemse (moved from fullback to flyhalf) and the rested Manie Libbok as his options in the No. 10 shirt for this week – with Handre Pollard expected to join the team next week after a successful comeback from injury for Leicester Tigers on Friday. Among the forwards, lock Jean Kleyn makes his fifth Springbok appearance, four years after representing Ireland in the last World Cup. Hooker Bongi Mbonambi takes over the captaincy from emblematic back row forward Siya Kolisi, who guided the team to the Webb Ellis trophy in 2019.

For Romania: Back row forward Andre Gorin will make his World Cup debut at the age of 35. Flank Gorin, centre Taylor Gontineac and second row forward Marius Iftimiciuc are the new faces for Sunday’s game in Bordeaux after last weekend’s heavy loss to Ireland.

Head to head

South Africa and Romania have met just once previously in a Test – during the 1995 World Cup, with the Springboks winning 21-8 in Stellenbosch.

SA-v-Rom-head-to-head

SA-v-Rom-head-to-head

Prediction

@rugby365com: South Africa to win by 35 or more

Teams

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Grant Williams, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi (captain), 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Jesse Kriel.

Romania: 15 Marius Simionescu, 14 Tevita Manumua, 13 Jason Tomane, 12 Taylor Gontineac, 11 Nicholas Onutu, 10 Hinckley Vaovasa, 9 Gabriel Rupanu, 8 Cristian Chirica (captain), 7 Vlad Neculau, 6 Andre Gorin, 5 Marius Iftimiciuc, 4 Adrian Motoc, 3 Alexandru Gordas, 2 Ovidiu Cojocaru, 1 Iulian Hartig.
Replacements: 16 Robert Irimescu, 17 Alexandru Savin, 18 Thomas Cretu, 19 Stefan Iancu, 20 Damian Stratila, 21 Cristi Bovoc, 22 Alin Conache, 23 Gabriel Pop.

Date: Sunday, September 17
Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT; 15.00 SAST; 16.00 EEST)
Expected weather: Very warm and humid, with sun and areas of high clouds. High of 30°C – which is what it is expected to beat around kick-off time.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Additional reporting by AFP

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