Spring­boks make four changes for Wal­la­bies clash

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

CAPE TOWN — Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee has in­cluded Fran­cois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel in a re­vamped back­line for the Cas­tle Lager Rugby Cham­pi­onship Test against the Wal­la­bies at the Sun­corp Sta­dium in Bris­bane on Satur­day.

In the only change amongst the for­wards, tight­head prop Lourens Adri­aanse will earn his first start for the Spring­boks in place of Vin­cent Koch, while Eben Etze­beth will be­come the youngest player ever to reach the mile­stone of 50 Tests for South Africa this week­end.

Coet­zee made four changes in to­tal to the back divi­sion which fea­tured in the loss to Ar­gentina in Salta two week ago. One of them is be­cause of in­jury while an­other is a po­si­tional switch.

Hougaard comes into the side as re­place­ment for Ruan Com­brinck, who suf­fered a frac­tured leg against the Pu­mas, and he will play on the left wing, mean­ing the ex­pe­ri­enced Bryan Ha­bana moves over to the right.

The new cen­tre com­bi­na­tion of De Jongh and Jesse Kriel gets a run in the place of Damian de Al­lende and Lionel Mapoe, who has been in­cluded on the re­place­ments bench. De Jongh and Kriel both fea­tured as re­place­ments for South Africa in the first two Tests against Ar­gentina, in Nel­spruit and Salta.

Franco Mostert has been in­cluded as one of the six for­ward re­place­ments, and the bench also fea­tures prop Trevor Nyakane, who has shrugged off his an­kle nig­gle.

Tow­er­ing lock Etze­beth will be­come the 32nd Spring­bok to reach 50th Test matches, at the age of 24 years, nine months and 12 days, sur­pass­ing the record pre­vi­ously held by Pat Lambie (25y, 14d). Mean­while, the big No 4 will also play in his 27th con­sec­u­tive match for the Spring­boks.

In an­other no­tice­able mile­stone, loose head prop Tendai Mtawarira is set to play in his 81st Test match thereby be­com­ing the most capped prop in Spring­bok his­tory, sur­pass­ing the record pre­vi­ously held by Os du Randt.

Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee said he is ex­cited to see what im­pact the new play­ers in the team can make in what will be a big chal­lenge on Satur­day.

“Look­ing at the im­pact that Juan and Jesse made when they came off the bench in Nel­spruit and Salta, then I think now is the right time to give them a start­ing op­por­tu­nity,” said Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for them to play to­gether as a cen­tre com­bi­na­tion and both have Test match ex­pe­ri­ence. Juan’s abil­ity to or­gan­ise at 12 and his calm­ness in that role will help to guide El­ton in his fly­half du­ties.”

Re­gard­ing the change in the front row, Coet­zee said: “Lourens made a good im­pact when he came off the bench and we are look­ing for a sim­i­lar im­pact with his in­clu­sion in the start­ing team. Trevor is fully fit again and he of­fers us the op­tion of play­ing on ei­ther side of the scrum.”

Coet­zee reck­ons the Spring­boks will ben­e­fit from the ver­sa­til­ity of Hougaard, who has al­ready played in 35 Tests for the Spring­boks.

“Fran­cois cov­ers two po­si­tions for us, on the wing and scrumhalf and apart from that he has other good at­tributes,” said Coet­zee.

“He is very com­pet­i­tive and his de­fen­sive work is solid be­cause he con­tests very hard on the ground and his a good fin­isher.”

Coet­zee also said the abil­ity of Aus­tralia to hold on to the ball through long spells means the Spring­bok de­fence will have to be pa­tient and solid.

“The Wal­la­bies are known for their abil­ity to hold onto the ball for long phases, so we are pre­par­ing our­selves to make a lot of tack­les and to be or­gan­ised on de­fence,” said Coet­zee, who added that he is ex­pect­ing the play­ers on the bench to yet again make a strong im­pact.

“Our bench has made a real im­pact in each match we’ve played this sea­son. After look­ing at the Aus­tralia ver­sus New Zealand matches, we re­alise the phys­i­cal in­ten­sity of the for­ward ex­changes, and that’s why we feel that a fresh tight five can sus­tain the phys­i­cal in­ten­sity.”— Sport24.

Al­lis­ter Coet­zee

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