South Africa got their Rugby Championship off to a flying start at the weekend with a barnstorming victory over Eddie Jones’ Australia. This weekend will see the current world champions face off against an All Black side fresh off the back of thumping a faltering Argentina. Typically known to show their cards early, South Africa have already named their side to start on Saturday.
As expected, there have been major changes to the side that dominated last weekend, with many players having arrived in New Zealand early in preparation for the test. As Eddie Jones will tell you, there is no such thing as a weak South African side, so expect the same firepower this weekend from what many people believe to be the Springboks ‘first team’.
The front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, and Frans Malherbe remains the same following Ox Nche’s injury, which keeps him out for much of the tournament. The second row sees a complete change up with captain Eben Etzebeth returning to the starting lineup alongside 6 ft 9 in Lood De Jager.
The back row continues the trend of replacements as Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, and Jasper Wiese provide the firepower from the back of the scrum.
The backs have taken a major revamp, also, with only Willie Le Roux and Lukhayo Am keeping their place in the starting lineup. Faf De Klerk is one of the major names to return to the starting team alongside the likes of World Cup final try scorers, Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpe.
Joining Am in the midfield is his long-time centre partner, Damian De Allende, as the two of them will look to exploit their experience to break open the All Black defence. Settling in at flyhalf, Jacques Nienaber has elected to introduce last week’s bench player Damian Willemse into the fold as he looks to cement his place ahead of this year’s World Cup, with regular flyhalf Handre Pollard currently out injured.
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The bench consists of eight players that could arguably make their way into any side in world rugby, proving once again that the Springbok’s strength in depth is unmatched in the Southern Hemisphere.