On Tuesday Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber remained optimistic and positive when he named his squad for Saturday’s 100th Test against the All Blacks in Townsville.
Amongst the team Lood de Jager has recovered from his concussion and will be in the starting line-up after missing out on the Australian game at Suncorp last week and replaces Marvin Orie. De Jager’s experience within the team and defensive work will add an omniscient presence to the Boks forwards.
Kwagga Smith is brought back into the squad at blindside flank while Franco Mostert is benched with Nienaber opting for a 5/3 bench split in favour of the forwards and brings in Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn in the backline.
Jasper Wiese has been excluded due to his disciplinary case being heard only on Tuesday. However, he has subsequently been cleared by a SANZAAR judicial hearing.
“Experience will be vital to ensure that we remain focused and calm throughout the match. Players like Elton and Frans will bring that when they take the field. Both have played and won against the All Blacks, but they will also bring a different skill set,” said Nienaber.
Nienaber commended De Jager on his 51 Test caps and mentions how valuable he is to this specific match, whereas Smith has faced the All Blacks before, “which gives Franco a well- deserved opportunity to be managed carefully this week after a physically taxing load since the season has started,” added Nienaber.
“Both Elton and Frans have been training very well, they’ve also been in our structures for years and have performed well for the team in high pressured matches, so we are keen to see what dynamic they bring to the game,” he said.
15 Willie Le Roux 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Lukhanyo Am 12 Damian de Allende 11 Makazole Mapimpi 10 Handre Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Duane Vermeulen 7 Kwagga Smith 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Lood de Jager 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Trevor Nyakane
16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 Franco Mostert 20 Marco Van Staden 21 Herschel Jantjies 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Frans Steyn
Springbok record against New Zealand:
Played 99, Won 36, Lost 59, Drawn 4
By Fatima Said
Photo by SA Rugby