Boks forced to change

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 13:00
Large tendai mtawarira boks h s 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Springboks have been forced to make changes to their starting XV to face the All Blacks at Newlands on Saturday.

Veteran prop Tendai Mtawarira is unavailable because of family reasons and Steven Kitshoff will start his first Test for his country.

Other changes will see Lodewyk de Jager start, while Pieter-Steph du Toit moves to blindside flank to give the Springboks more line-out options – both on attack and defence.

Francois Louw will run out at No.8 in place of the injured Uzair Cassiem.

Kitshoff has played 18 matches off the bench in his position behind Mtawarira, the most-capped Springbok prop of all time - with 95 caps to his name.

With Kitshoff earning his first start in the Springbok jersey, Wilco Louw has been drafted onto the bench.

The former Junior Springbok and SA 'A' prop is the only uncapped player in the matchday 23.

"Losing your most experience player is not ideal," Coetzee said about the absence of Mtawarira, adding: "But family comes first in our caring environment.

"It's a well-deserved starting opportunity for Steven. He has been working extremely hard in the last two seasons and fully deserves his chance.

"Wilco has established himself during the Super Rugby season, while he also continued that form in the Currie Cup. When he gets the opportunity to play, it will be something special on his home ground," Coetzee added.

The reshuffled loose trio is because of the injury-enforced absence of Cassiem, who will be sidelined for six week weeks with a rib fracture he suffered in last weekend's 27-all draw against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein.

The Springbok coach said his side will be looking for improvement in all areas.

"Our preparations have gone well this week and we are looking forward to Saturday's Test at Newlands," said Coetzee.

"Francois is a seasoned openside flank and although it's his first Test start in the No.8 jersey, he has a good understanding of the role we expect from him.

I believe his vast experience will see him settle in quickly in this role. Jean-Luc du Preez will again provide good impact off the bench."
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Meanwhile, Coetzee added the Springboks will be looking to improve in all facets of the game.

"The All Blacks will again test us in every department. They don't seem to have any weak areas, so we will have to show that we've learnt from our experience in Albany. Saturday is another huge opportunity for us to continue to grow as a team and build on our cohesion."

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende.

Date: Saturday, October 7
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT; 03.05, Sunday, October 8, NZ time)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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