'Perfect balance' in the loose trio
REACTION: Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee believes he has the perfect loose-forward combination to take on the All Blacks at Newlands on Saturday.
With Uzair Cassiem unavailable this week, Coetzee has shifted Francois Louw to No.8 with lock Pieter-Steph du Toit coming into the starting XV in the No.7 jersey. Siyamthanda Kolisi retains his place in the No.6 jersey.
It is an interesting selection bringing Du Toit in the loose trio, while Jean-Luc du Preez remains on the bench.
"I think two most important factors that I have taken into consideration is to go out and play with your most experienced players and secondly make sure that you fix what didn't go right in [the 0-57 defeat in] Albany.
"If you look at the combination, it's the perfect balance.
"You got Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is a great line-out player. He can carry in the middle of the field for us and then we've got the two loosies who can play on the ground and carry in the wide channels. So it is actually a good combination for me."
Du Toit's last game in the No.7 jersey for the Boks did not go well as he got caught out on defence on a number of occasions in South Africa's 21-37 defeat to England at Twickenham last year. Du Toit's other start in the No.7 jersey came against Japan in the 2015 World Cup and we all know what happened in that match.
"I can't talk about the Japan Test, but definitely about England," said the Bok coach. "It maybe hasn't gone well on a defensive front, but since then, he [Du Toit] has grown and he has improved a helluva lot.
"You will see an improved Pieter-Steph du Toit playing at flank this week. He's definitely made a conscious effort and not just him, but everyone.
"If you face a running scrumhalf, it is always challenging, but being a tall man, he understands it now and we have worked on his body position and also [with the help of] the guys around him making sure that he stays within the mini unit."
The Boks were horrendous in the line-outs in the 0-57 defeat to the All Blacks in Albany and Coetzee feels that Du Toit's inclusion at flank will help turn things around at Newlands. Coetzee has also brought in Lodewyk de Jager in the second row in place of Francois Mostert.
"I am confident that there will be an improvement. Lood [Lodewyk de Jager] is an experienced player. He is a great line-out exponent and not just in attacking line-outs, but also in defensive line-outs.
"Pieter-Steph just gives another excellent option at the back and you have to have loosies that can jump. You honestly have to have great loose forwards that can jump.
"Uzair has been our jumping loose forward, but he is out, and so we needed to look at that. I am sure it [line-outs] will be a big improvement," Coetzee added.
By Warren Fortune