The Fiji Times
Against Tonga Coach calls for change
Pollard to start
HANDRE Pollard will start at flyhalf in one of 12 changes for South Africa in their must-win Rugby World Cup Pool B clash against Tonga in Marseille on Sunday, as coach Jacques Nienaber picked no specialist hooker and Duane Vermeulen at flanker.
Pollard has played 30 minutes of rugby for Leicester Tigers since May due to injury, but the Springboks are eager to give him a run with his accuracy off the kicking tee potentially crucial in the knockout rounds, should South Africa get there.
He replaces Manie Libbok, who moves to the bench having been excellent with ball in hand during the tournament, but wasteful with kicks at goal.
Number eight Jasper Wiese, captain Siya Kolisi and lock Eben Etzebeth were the only players included who started the 13-8 loss to Ireland last weekend, as they reverted to a 5-3 split between forwards and backs on the bench.
“There is a good possibility Handre will struggle to get through an intense game and that is why we went with a 5-3 split on the bench to have Manie there to come on if needed,” coach Jacques Nienaber said. “I will be surprised if Handre lasts 80 minutes.
“But he is a quality player, he has won a world cup before, so he understands what top international rugby is about.”
Regular loose-forward Deon Fourie, who played his first game at hooker in five years against Romania in the pool stages, starts in the front row and his replacement will be another flanker in Marco van Staden, who is also a back-up in the number two jersey.
Wiese stays at number eight, with Vermeulen getting a rare start as a flanker to bring physicality and break-down pressure along with Kolisi.
“Duane maybe hasn’t been playing there for some time, but it is not a weird position for him. I quite like the balance of the loose trio we have this weekend,” Nienaber said.
Old school friends Etzebeth and Marvin Orie are the lock pairing, with props Vincent Koch and Ox Nche either side of hooker Fourie.
LYON, France - Namibia’s hopes of a first ever Rugby World Cup win ended in defeat as coach Allister Coetzee bemoaned his side’s discipline in their 36-26 Pool A loss to Uruguay, and said the team needs to start preparing for the next tournament now.
Namibia led 20-12 at halftime, but two yellow cards and a red in the second period sealed their fate as they ran out of gas, and players, against the South Americans.
“Uruguay took control of the game and that is test match rugby. When you concede 12 penalties and three cards, it is very difficult,” Coetzee told reporters.
“These are things that cost you and we can’t hide (away) from it if we are not up to it. But I must commend the team for playing until the end. Defensively there were errors in (tackle) technique in being too upright.
“It is quite difficult to swallow but in the end Uruguay deserved to win.”
Namibia’s record losing streak at World Cups now stands at 26 since their debut in 1999 as they head home after four games in 19 days, the toughest schedule of any team in the tournament.
Coetzee says unless lessons are learnt
South Africa team:
15 – Willie le Roux, 14 – Grant Williams, 13 – Canan Moodie, 12 – Andre Esterhuizen, 11 – Makazole Mapimpi, 10 – Handre Pollard, 9 – Cobus Reinach, 8 – Jasper Wiese, 7 – Duane Vermeulen, 6 – Siya Kolisi (capt.), 5 – Marvin Orie, 4 – Eben Etzebeth, 3 – Vincent Koch, 2 – Deon Fourie, 1 – Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 – Marco van Staden, 17 – Steven Kitshoff, 18 – Trevor Nyakane, 19 – Franco Mostert, 20 – Kwagga Smith, 21 – Jaden Hendrikse, 22 – Jesse Kriel, 23 – Manie Libbok. and the correct structures are put in place domestically to boost players physically and unearth new talent, history will continue to repeat itself.
“We have got to make sure we build now at the set-piece, give our front rankers a program where these blokes and the youngsters can develop,” he said.
“We are a small country with not a lot of depth so we need a high performance plan to be put in place for these guys. That is the next step after this World Cup.
“We can’t start to build once we have qualified, we have to put these things in place next year. We need to blood young players, there needs to be a program with a timeline.”
Coetzee has said all through the tournament that what his team lacks most is conditioning, and that is most brutally exposed among the forwards.
“We need to make sure that their conditioning is up to speed and that players get enough test match experience and caps against tier one nations,” he said.
“Otherwise the playing fields will never be level and we will always be at a disadvantage.”