Bound to be a few one-on-one sideshows in to­day’s test

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half po­si­tion last year, with­out con­vinc­ing in the Test arena, but then one’s got to won­der whether he was asked to play a style of rugby that didn’t suit him. He’s back for more in 2017, and again com­ing off a stel­lar sea­son with the Lions in Su­per Rugby.

Jan­tjies is the lead­ing points scorer in the com­pe­ti­tion – proof he is kick­ing ex­cel­lently at goal – while the Lions are up there with the num­ber of tries scored – also proof of how he’s con­trib­uted to his team-mates scor­ing plenty. With some deft touches, clever kicks into space and even kick-passes to his wings, Jan­tjies has shown he can be the mas­ter of his team. He must now do it at Test level, too.

Plis­son, at 25 and with just 13 Tests be­hind him, is also still try­ing to be­come a French reg­u­lar, but he has shown he is up for the big stage, hav­ing starred for Stade Fran­cais for some years now.

At 1.84 m tall and weigh­ing 92kg, Plis­son is a big unit at No 10 and he’s sure to ask Jan­tjies to make a few tack­les over the course of the 80 min­utes.

It’s the bat­tle of the No 8s – the key link-men be­tween for­wards and backs – and on one side it’s the new Bok skip­per, and for France it’s their most ex­pe­ri­enced man this week­end, 31-year-old, 62-cap Pi­camoles.

Hav­ing played a good few Tests now White­ley won’t be over-awed by the oc­ca­sion of his lead­ing the side for the first time, but he’ll be un­der pres­sure to make the right calls and to lead this new-look, rather in­ex­pe­ri­enced, side into new ter­ri­tory. He’ll tackle un­til the 80th minute, and he’ll run un­til he can’t move a mus­cle, so we know he’ll give it his ev­ery­thing.

His ev­ery move will be watched and an­a­lysed, es­pe­cially as he’s seen as the glue that is sup­posed to bring to­gether the rather un­likely flanker choice of Siya Kolisi and Oupa Mo­hoje, while he’s also up against a sea­soned in­ter­na­tional in Pi­camoles.

The French vet­eran is a crafty op­er­a­tor who’s not only a big ball-car­rier type No 8, he’s also pretty good on the ground.

This will be a key match-up, but not so much that the two play­ers will ac­tu­ally go headto-head against each other – they’ll only do that at scrum­time – but rather in how they per­form with their core duty of throw­ing the ball into the li­ne­out.

To­day’s Test will be Marx’s first in the No 2 jer­sey af­ter play­ing off the bench last year, so he’ll be un­der pres­sure through­out the time he’s on the field. It’ll help though to set­tle the nerves and al­low him to get into his stride ... and once he’s hum­ming there’s likely to be no stop­ping him.

Marx is the real deal – he’s strong as a ball-car­rier and he’s equally pow­er­ful on the ground – so ex­pect a big all­round show­ing. Where he’ll be key is find­ing his li­ne­out jumpers, and there are a few to find – Etze­beth, Mostert, Mo­hoje and White­ley. The good thing is he knows li­ne­out caller Mostert ex­tremely well.

May­nadier is, like Marx, still new to Test ac­tion and he, too, will be un­der pres­sure to find his jumpers and pro­duce the kind of per­form one has come to ex­pect of French hook­ers in the past: ro­bust and all-ac­tion.

WING WAR­RIORS: Ray­mond Rhule, left, makes his test de­but against Fi­jian-born Vir­imi Vakatawa.

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