Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Boks hold off on naming replacemen­t for injured Marx

- LEIGHTON KOOPMAN leighton.koopman@inl.co.za

THE Springboks owe it to Malcolm Marx to record a resounding win when they take on Romania in the second Pool B match at the Rugby World Cup tomorrow in Bordeaux.

The loss of the hooker to injury has been a hammer blow to South Africa’s chances of retaining their Rugby World Cup title, but coach Jacques Nienaber is taking a “glass half full” approach as they hold off on naming a replacemen­t.

Marx is set to leave the squad after picking up a tournament-ending knee injury after contributi­ng massively in the opening game against Scotland and in the build-up to South Africa’s attempt to defend their world title.

“It was a freak accident, his legs just got caught in another player’s legs. It was in a contact session. It was a team run and it was just unfortunat­e,” Nienaber told reporters yesterday.

But now the show must go on without him, and his absence will definitely affect the squad. How the Boks cope with that loss in their quest to reach and win the final will show the squad’s character and how they adapt to and overcome adversity.

That is why tomorrow’s clash against the Romanians (kick-off 3pm) will be an important one to win convincing­ly to provide some more momentum after the sad news of Marx. Nienaber said the injury to the hooker would not only be felt on the pitch but off it too.

“It’s a blow on various levels. When we left Toulon to come to Bordeaux we were all sad. Rugby players work incredibly hard for four years to come to a World Cup, the players sacrifice a lot and their families sacrifice a lot, so for him to miss out on it for such a freak accident is a big blow,” said Nienaber.

“The second blow, every individual in our team adds something to the Boks, to the team, so we lose that …

“And then thirdly, you lose a quality rugby player as a team, but also the World Cup loses a quality rugby player.”

The Boks are holding off on naming a replacemen­t until after their Pool B clash with Romania, with Nienaber saying all options remain open.

“Handre (Pollard) is in the mix and Luhanyo (Am) is very close to being ready. We will discuss it after the game.

We are fully focused on Romania because we should show them that respect.”

The Springboks selected an exciting team – with four scrum-halves – to tackle Romania.

Bok fanatics can look forward to an open running game of rugby with the likes of wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Grant Williams hopefully getting the chance to stretch their legs and score some scintillat­ing tries.

Williams, centre Canan Moodie and locks Marvin Orie and Jean Kleyn are among the players making their Springbok debut at the tournament.

Kleyn and Orie will look to fire up the forwards and it should provide the perfect platform to set the backs free. |

THE show must go on. That is the refrain from Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber who says the training ground accident that has robbed the team of mighty Malcolm Marx cannot be allowed to cloud the objective – successful­ly defending the Webb Ellis Cup.

Nienaber, speaking on the eve of his team’s match against Romania tomorrow (3pm) says now ain’t the time for tears.

“When players get injured you can look at it as the cup is half empty or the cup is half full, and we look at it as the cup is half full because if there weren’t injuries a few years ago Malcolm wouldn’t have been in the mix. Sometimes injury or loss of form gives players the opportunit­y and then they become world stars. Adversity can open the door for different players to step up.”

Romania copped 80 points from Ireland last week and the Boks are sure to give them a klap but Nienaber is too focused on the end goal to get bogged down on the Marx setback or to take the eastern Europeans too lightly.

“The injury to Malcolm has not affected our team going into this match, not at all,” the coach said. “We will discuss it after the game – we’re fully focused on Romania because they deserve respect. It’s only the second time we’ve played them in a World Cup so it’s a special game for us. We should also show respect to the players that we have chosen for this match, so we’re not talking about anything other than Romania.”

The fact is that while there are 14 changes to the starting line-up that beat Scotland, the players coming in are bristling with intent. They are hungry to prove they should be involved in next week’s big one against Ireland, and onwards.

Nobody in this Bok team is going to be in cruise mode because the opposition are lightweigh­ts. Everyone wants to be in top form because, to labour a point, injuries happen. There will be more and the players want to make sure they are at the front of the queue.

To illustrate, Deon Fourie is suddenly the back-up hooker and all eyes will be on him when he replaces Bongi Mbonambi in the second half. Can he make the step up in a position he has not played for a decade? If he fails, then maybe they will call up a specialist

hooker on Monday.

I love the backline that is playing against Romania and I had to laugh when I saw that Nienaber has picked all four scrumhalve­s for this match. When the World Cup squad was named last month, eyebrows were raised at the number of 9s and now Nienaber has picked them all for one game.

The bottom line is that they are all classy players and in this type of game, speedsters Cobus Reinach and Grant Williams could well score hat-tricks. If you are a betting man you read it here first.

And then Faf de Klerk is going to have a cameo at flyhalf when Damian Willemse comes off.

“Faf played flyhalf at school. He has also played flyhalf for the Lions in Super Rugby and also for Sale Sharks in the Premiershi­p,” Nienaber explained. “Yes, there are four 9s but a lot of them have played different positions. That versatilit­y that we get from them is very nice for us.

“I’m not being disrespect­ful to Romania but it’s an opportunit­y to try Faf out in a Test match under pressure at 10. He’s trained there for us numerous times. We’ve said Faf is our third-choice flyhalf but now we can see if he can control the game at 10 at Test-match level.”

Springboks Team

15 Willie le Roux 14 Grant Williams 13 Canan Moodie 12 Andre Esterhuize­n 11 Makazole Mapimpi 10 Damian Willemse 9 Cobus Reinach 8 Duane Vermeulen 7 Kwagga Smith 6 Marco van Staden 5 Marvin Orie 4 Jean Kleyn 3 Vincent Koch 2 Bongi Mbonambi (captain) 1 Ox Nche

Bench: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20, Jasper Wiese, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Jesse Kriel

 ?? ??
 ?? PHILL MAGAKOE AFP ?? SOUTH Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen celebrates after scoring a century during the fourth ODI off just 57 balls against Australia Supersport Park in Centurion yesterday. |
PHILL MAGAKOE AFP SOUTH Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen celebrates after scoring a century during the fourth ODI off just 57 balls against Australia Supersport Park in Centurion yesterday. |
 ?? Shuttersto­ck ?? SPRINGBOK coach Jacques Nienaber wants to see Faf de Klerk control the game at No 10. |
Shuttersto­ck SPRINGBOK coach Jacques Nienaber wants to see Faf de Klerk control the game at No 10. |

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