Bok midfield dilemma: Mapoe or Kriel?

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:17

INJURY UPDATE: Springboks' Jesse Kriel has recovered from concussion and is available for selection for Saturday's third Test against France in Johannesburg. Jan de Koning reports.

Kriel suffered concussion in the first Test in Pretoria and subsequently missed the second Test, with Lionel Mapoe taking his place in the starting side.

Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee now has to decide who will wear the No.13 jersey for the third and final Test.

In other injury news, the Bok camp confirmed that flank Teboho Mohoje will miss Saturday's Test at Ellis Park because of concussion.

Jean-Luc du Preez will likely take Mohoje's place in the starting XV.

Meanwhile, Coetzee has hinted that he will be making a few changes for the upcoming clash as he aims to build depth within his squad.

While he has a clear view of the bulk of the team, the decision around his midfield pairing might require a bit more forethought.

"If I reflect on the first Test and how well he [Kriel] played [in the 37-14 win by the Boks], after having played at fullback most of the time in Super Rugby and then, it was really pleasing how quickly he settled down at outside centre," Coetzee said.

"Obviously Lionel [Mapoe] got a chance to play this [past] weekend [in the 37-15 second Test win] and also performed [well].

"That is why I say the beauty about this squad and the team it is very, very close [when making selections].

"It is never nice to have an injury, but when it happens the next guy just steps in.

"That is a really good position to be in.

"It is a headache for me, but I know I will make the right decision."

He described Mohoje's injury as a 'massive loss' and said the are happy with his game.

"He is a great line-out option to have," Coetzee said of Mohoje, adding: "He has the ability to run like front [No.4] lock and his defensive work around the field. Both him and Siya [Siyamthanda Kolisi] had been strong on defence."

While Du Preez is the most logical option to replace Mohojé, following his impressive performance as a replacement, Coetzee said midfield and loose forward may not be the only changes.

"I would like to keep the team - in terms of continuity - the same as far as I can," the coach said.

"However, there is also an opportunity to build capacity [depth].

"There might be one or two other changes, but there will definitely not be wholesale changes.

"The French are a very good side and we respect them.

"This is not just another match, with the series wrapped up. This is a Test and a very important Test for us. We must show progression every week."

By Jan de Koning, in Johannesburg
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