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Boks go to go full tilt against Ireland.

The World Cup winning Springboks are set to name their side to face Ireland in the first of their two-test series tour tomorrow. We got a glimpse into the future of the team when the side faced Wales at Twickenham a week ago, but with almost a full squad to pick from, there are likely to be numerous changes that take place as we look to topple the Irish at Loftus this weekend.

I have taken a look at all the possibilities and combinations that can be composed out of the current 39-man squad assembled in Pretoria. I couldn't find a reason to deviate much from the side that did duty against the All Blacks in the World Cup final last October, other than the obvious retirement or injury enforced changes which are inevitable every season. The side I have selected boasts 17 of the 23 who took to the field in the final and a further 3 who played major roles in the campaign as a whole.

Starting in the front row, there is the notable absence of Steven Kitshoff as he suffered injury whilst playing for Irish side Ulster in the URC. His spot in the starting side will be filled by the unbendable bar-fridge that is Ox Nche. At Hooker I had a hard debate between Malcolm and Bongi, lets be honest either can start or bench and the Bok jersey will be done justice all the same. I went with Malcolm as he is still fresh from injury, having faced Wales only a week ago. This means it's a safer bet to start the big man and let him empty the tank, before unleashing Bongi to finish it off. These two starters will be anchored by the the literal anchor himself, Frans Malherbe at tight head, making an extremely experienced and capable front row rock solid.

A change has been necessitated at the back of the scrum as Duane Vermeulen's retirement and Jasper Wiese's current ban mean neither of the specialist 8's from the World Cup are available. In the squad you haver Evan Roos and Phepsi Buthelezi and merely due to the size of the occasion and task at hand at Loftus I decided on the slightly more experienced Roos for this one. Phepsi will get his shot in the coming weeks, but a debut against Ireland is a tough ask.

The remainder of the backline I have selected is exactly that which did duty in the final, albeit an injury enforced change at fullback. Damian Willemse will be out of action until at least the November tour and fortunately for the Springboks, Willie Le Roux is able to step into the role he played in 2019. Anyone who doubts what Willie brings to the table, should simply phone a friend that supports the Bulls and ask what would have happened against Glasgow had he been available. Not only does he bring a wealth of experience to the role, but his eye for a gap and ability to put his outside backs into space make him a vital member of this side. The injury to Damian has also necessitated a change to the bench and with Rassie's love of the utility player in mind, combined with his BMT moment at Twickenham, I believe Sacha has done enough to earn the number 23 jersey for this one.

In terms of the bench I decided on the 5/3 split as the Boks have been based in Pretoria for a while now and will surely look to make that altitude count in their favor by playing a faster paced game in the first test. The inclusion of Cobus, Manie and Sacha also mean that when the game opens up later on, we can move from the kicking oriented game to a wider attacking game to really try and open up the Irish as their lungs and legs burn.

Predicted 23 to face Ireland at Loftus:

  1. Ox Nche

  2. Malcolm Marx

  3. Frans Malherbe

  4. Eben Etzebeth

  5. Franco Mostert

  6. Siya Kolisi (c)

  7. Pieter-Steph Du Toit

  8. Evan Roos

  9. Faf De Klerk

  10. Handre Pollard

  11. Kurt-Lee Arendse

  12. Damian De Allende

  13. Jesse Kriel

  14. Cheslin Kolbe

  15. Willie Le Roux

  16. Bongi Mbonambi

  17. Trevor Nyakane

  18. Vincent Koch

  19. RG Snyman

  20. Kwagga Smith

  21. Cobus Reinach

  22. Manie Libbok

  23. Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

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1 commentaire

Nick, Leinster and Glasgow teams recently did not experience pap legs and burning lungs. I think its time to put that to bed, the Irish will stay the mile of that I'm sure. That being my thoughts I'd not look to Libbok but would rather wager on Goma Goma, Masuku hopefully will get game time one day. The Boks will need dependability and accurate kicking and Libbok, well anything can happen! Roos not my best pick and I don't think he was influential enough against Wales, but then who, maybe Louw?

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