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Selection changes both ways as Boks and Lions get ready for second Test

BY Grant Constable  ·  Tuesday Jul 27, 2021

South Africa and the British & Irish Lions have both named significant changes for the crucial second Test of the series in Cape Town.

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Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has reacted to the 22-17 defeat last Saturday by replacing the ineffectual Kwagga Smith with Leicester number eight Jasper Wiese, who came on as a replacement against Georgia on July 2.

There are two adjustments to the front row with only hooker Bongi Mbonambi surviving as the Springboks give starts to props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.

Ox Nche, one of the starting props for the first Test, has been ruled out by a neck problem but Mbonambi continues after recovering from a hamstring issue.

South Africa have opted for a six-two split on the bench, which includes Saracens tighthead Vincent Koch. Marco van Staden takes over from Rynhardt Elstadt as back row cover alongside Smith.

“This is a massive game for us – it’s do or die in order to stay in the race to win the series,” Nienaber said.

“We have selected a team that offers continuity in selection, but also one that we thought would be the best suited to achieve the objectives we have set for this match.

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“We disappointed ourselves last week and we all know how important it is to bounce back with a strong performance and show our fighting spirit and pride as a team and nation.”

SPRINGBOK TEAM:

Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard (vice-captain), Faf de Klerk, Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse.

LIONS SELECTIONS

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has turned to tour veterans Conor Murray and Mako Vunipola, also handing tough-tackling Chris Harris a first start, in three changes to last weekend’s winning team.

Irish scrum half Murray and English prop Vunipola both came off the bench to help the Lions to victory at the Cape Town Stadium and now start the second match of the series at the same venue.

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Vunipola, 30, who played all three Tests on tour in Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017, replaces Scotland’s Rory Sutherland. The 32-year-old Murray, also a veteran of two previous Lions tours, takes over at scrum half from Scotland’s Ali Price.

Price and Sutherland are among the substitutes.

Murray will partner flyhalf Dan Biggar, who must however still complete his return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant.

Gatland’s other change is at outside centre where Elliot Daly failed to impact in Saturday’s first Test and is replaced by Chris Harris.

Daly goes on the bench in place of Liam Williams, who drops out of the match-day 23.

Gatland also added loose forward Taulupe Faletau, who has four Lions Test caps, to the bench ahead of Hamish Watson.

“As always, selection was incredibly tough,” said Gatland. “However, we’ve made the changes we think are the right calls for the weekend’s game.

“It’ll be another tight contest. We know the Springboks will be hurting and they’ll throw everything at us on Saturday, but … we feel we can go up another level from where we were in the first Test.

“It’s the biggest game on the tour and we have to embrace the expectation that comes with it.

“We’re relishing the opportunity to face the Springboks again on Saturday and potentially seal a series win,” Gatland said.

Ben O’Keeffe from New Zealand has been appointed as the referee for the match, with Mathieu Raynal (France) and Nic Berry (Australia) serving as his assistant referees, while Marius Jonker (South Africa) will be the television match official.

LIONS TEAM:

Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray, Jack Conan, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Maro Itoje, Tadhg Furlong, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Taulupe Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly.

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