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Monday Aug 21, 2023

Boks make wholesale changes for All Blacks clash

Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has made eight changes to his Springbok side that thumped Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

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Facing what will be a far sterner challenge at Twickenham this weekend, Nienaber has recalled several experienced operators.

Once again, starting having made his return from injury last weekend, is captain Siya Kolisi who will run out at number six.

Joining him in the backrow are fellow veterans Pieter-Steph Du Toit and number eight Duane Vermeulen.

In the engine room, Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert renew their secondrow partnership behind the powerful scrummaging front row of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe.

Throwing caution to the wind, Nienaber has selected a new look backline with the ultra-exciting sensation that is Canan Moodie shifting from the wing to the outside centre.

Moodie links up with a man who is all too familiar with South West London in Harlequins star Andrew Esterhuizen.

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Out wide, Damian Willemse rotates with Willie Le Roux to start at fullback, with Kurt-Lee Arendse and Makazole Mapimpi on the wings.

Pulling the strings in the half-backs are veteran Faf de Klerk and newcomer Manie Libbok.

Speaking on the challenges that the All Blacks will pose, Nienaber was quick to point out that this weekend’s fixture would be a step up in terms of tempo from the one in Cardiff.

“The All Blacks will provide a different challenge to Wales, and we believe this group of players is the right mix for this match,” said Nienaber.

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“New Zealand play a high-tempo game, and they turn on the intensity from the starting whistle as they showed in Auckland, so it’s vital that we start well this week.

“We took the lessons from that match, and we’ve built good momentum since, so this will be a fantastic test before we enter our Rugby World Cup campaign.”

Commenting on the significant number of changes to the team, Nienaber said: “Our objective since the beginning of the season was to strike a balance between performance and managing player load with only six Test matches to get ready for the World Cup, and we are pleased with the way we have developed in that regard.

“In the last five matches we’ve given everyone, with the exception of the injured players, valuable game time, which is vital going into the World Cup, and we are satisfied with the way we have been building as a team.”

Finally Nienaber was asked what to expect from a sold out Twickenham, a venue which the last time the two sides met at was in a World Cup semi-final in 2015.

“This match may be on neutral ground, but we expect it to be as epic as every other Test between the teams. They are a quality team with several playmakers and physical forwards, and they’ll give everything on Friday.

“We know what to expect and what we need to do to work our way into a position to get the desired result, so as a team we need to be ready mentally and physically.”

Springbok team to face New Zealand in London:
15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 32 caps, 41 pts (3t, 4c, 4p, 2d)
14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 9 caps, 50 pts (10t)
13 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 7 caps, 20 pts (4t)
12 – Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) – 13 caps, 0 pts
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 38 caps, 115 pts (23t)
10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 8 caps, 55 pts (1t, 16c, 6p)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 48 caps, 44 pts (5t, 2c, 5p)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 69 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 70 caps, 35 pts (7t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 76 caps, 40 pts (8t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 65 caps, 5 pts (1t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 112 caps, 25 pts (5t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 62 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 62 caps, 80 pts (16t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 75 caps, 10 pts (2t)
Replacements:
16 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 61 caps, 60 pts (12t)
17 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 20 caps, 0 pts
18 – Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) – 61 caps, 0 pts
19 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 3 caps, 0 pts (Ireland 5 caps)
20 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 27 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 13 caps, 0 pts
22 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 26 caps, 27 pts (9t)
23 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 87 caps, 65 pts (13t)

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