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Boks change it up, ever so slightly.

Jacques Nienaber named his side to take on Wales at the weekend as they kick off their end of year tour. Wales is a tough opponent for the Boks as they play a similar style of rugby, with a heavy reliance on the aerial game. Wales will be slightly bulked up by a number of senior players linking up with the squad this week, whilst the Boks have made a handful of rotational/injury enforced changes to the side.

Sbu Nkosi was unable to make the trip to Cardiff with the team on Sunday due to a Visa issue and was thus ineligible for selection. This has seen Jessie Kriel called upon to fill the spot out on the wing, a role he last fulfilled during the Springboks win over the All Blacks in 2018. Kriel is an incredible athlete and just shy of 50 test caps, he will be able to fill the void with ease, even if he lacks a little on the pace side of the game. His leadership and experience will also assist in defensive organisation for the back 3 as Damian Willemse scoops up a rare start at 15.


The inclusion of Willemse to the last line, sees Willie Le Roux drop out of the side altogether. Le Roux struggled for form in the closing rounds of the Rugby Championship and it was time for some fresh legs to be blooded. Unfortunately Aphelele Fassi has not made the 23, with Frans Steyn filling the role of utility back on the bench. Fassi must be on the cusp of getting a crack with the side, and hopefully the Scotland game will present that opportunity.


Herschel Jantjies gets the nod to start ahead of Cobus Reinach at 9, with the latter included on the bench. Elton Jantjies, despite his heroics against the All Blacks, still finds himself behind Pollard in the pecking order. The pressure will be on at 10 though and Pollards struggles at goal will be under the microscope during this tour. The backs are rounded out with the normal customers as De Allende and Am continue their strong partnership in the centers and Mapimpi is included on the wing.


The forward pack remains unchanged for this fixture and pose a solid threat in the set piece. Ox Nche is doing exceedingly well in filling the boots of retired Beast Mtawarira and it only gets worse for opponents when Steven Kitshoff joins the fray. Malcolm Marx is a player certainly deserving of a start and will hopefully get his hands on that role during the tour. Him and Bongi are formidable in the pack and the envy of teams world wide. Etzebeth remains the anchor in the engine room, whilst Kwagga smith continues to grow in his role at flank.



Whilst the Boks have begun to experiment slightly, they have still not strayed far from their winning formula in 2019 and there are a number of fringe players who are chomping at the bit to get out onto the field. I have written before about complacency in the side and Le Roux will certainly be a prime example to the team that no one is irreplaceable. I do however hope we're willing to cast the net a little wider for the next game.


SPRINGBOK TEAM

1) Ox Nche

2) Bongi Mbonambi

3) Trevor Nyakane

4) Eben Etzebeth

5) Lood de Jager

6) Siya Kolisi (c)

7) Kwagga Smith

8) Duane Vermeulen

9) Herschel Jantjies

10) Handre Pollard

11) Makazole Mapimpi

12) Damian Willemse

13) Lukhanyo Am

14) Jessie Kriel

15) Damian Willemse


16) Malcolm Marx

17) Steven Kitshoff

18) Vincent Koch

19) Franco Mostert

20) Jasper Wiese

21) Cobus Reinach

22) Elton Jantjies

23) Frans Steyn

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