Spring­boks have a full tank of gas

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN jac­ques.van­der­west­huyzen@inl.co.za

ONE thing the Spring­boks won’t be short of to­mor­row is work­horses.

The Boks may be giv­ing up a few ki­los, and lack­ing some brawn, be­cause of Eben Etze­beth’s ab­sence, but with Franco Mostert back in the team, the vis­i­tors will have a su­per mo­bile, and ex­tremely hard-work­ing lock pair­ing and back row.

And their en­gines will keep go­ing and go­ing, un­til coach Rassie Eras­mus deems they can do no more.

With Mostert com­ing in to part­ner Pi­eter-Steph du Toit in the sec­ond row, the Boks will have two locks against France in Paris who are renowned for their work-rate and tack­ling abil­ity.

Then, with Eras­mus stick­ing with the same loose trio that ran out a week ago, and rightly so, the Boks have got more men who seem to never run out of gas.

War­ren White­ley has been one of Su­per Rugby’s big­gest tack­lers in re­cent years, top­ping the hits-list on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, while cap­tain Siya Kolisi’s tackle rate and work ef­fort this year have gone through the roof. They are also play­ers who get through plenty of work as car­ri­ers, and will be ably sup­ported by Duane Ver­meulen.

It is not sur­pris­ing that Eras­mus has stuck with the same men up front for this week’s Test. The Bok pack did well last week­end at Twick­en­ham.

The only real depart­ment of con­cern, and which Eras­mus & Co will hope is much-im­proved this week, will be the li­ne­outs where Mal­colm Marx missed his jumpers on four oc­ca­sions. Wil­lie le Roux and Faf de Klerk,

pic­tured, cer­tainly strengthen the side at scrumhalf and full­back.

On the bench, Vin­cent Koch gets an op­por­tu­nity, com­ing in for Wilco Louw, and his ex­pe­ri­ence of scrum­ming in north­ern-hemi­sphere con­di­tions and against some of the French­men will also boost the Bok set-piece.

Fran­cois Louw, with 62 caps, is the most se­nior man in the match­day squad and a player who is as rated by Eras­mus.

Ch­es­lin Kolbe’s X-fac­tor and ex­pe­ri­ence would have got him the nod ahead of Damian Willemse, and you can’t ar­gue too much about that. Per­haps Willemse could have stayed in the side though and got a chance as Han­dre Pol­lard’s back-up this week, with El­ton Jan­tjies sit­ting out.

All in all, it’s a very solid Bok squad. They now need to per­form as well as they look.

TEAMS

France Maxime Medard, Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud, Ge­of­frey Doumay­rou, Damian Pe­naud, Camille Lopez, Bap­tiste Serin, Louis Pi­camoles, Arthur Itur­ria, Wences­las Lau­ret, Yoann Maestri, Se­bastien Va­haamahina, Ce­date Gomes Sa, Guil­hem Guirado (capt), Jef­fer­son Poirot. Re­place­ments: Camille Chat, Dany Priso, Rabah Sli­mani, Paul Gabril­lagues, Mathieu Ba­bil­lot, An­toine Dupont, An­thony Bel­leau, Gael Fickou

South Africa

Wil­lie le Roux, S’bu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Al­lende, Aphiwe Dyan­tyi, Han­dre Pol­lard, Faf de Klerk, War­ren White­ley, Duane Ver­meulen, Siya Kolisi (capt), Franco Mostert, Pi­eter-Steph du Toit, Frans Mal­herbe, Mal­colm Marx, Steven Kit­shoff. Re­place­ments: Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Vin­cent Koch, RG Sny­man, Fran­cois Louw, Em­brose Papier, El­ton Jan­tjies, Ch­es­lin Kolbe

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