Nienaber opts for continuity in Bok selection

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber opted for continuity in selection for their Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, making only three changes to his matchday squad – one of which was enforced – as the Boks aim to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to the Wallabies.

In the two personnel changes in the starting lineup, Marvin Orie takes over at lock from Lood de Jager, who has started his concussion return to play protocol, and Trevor Nyakane was named at loosehead prop, with Steven Kitshoff named amongst the replacements in place of Ox Nché.

Nyakane, who boasts 48 Test caps, and Orie last ran out for the Springboks in the team’s second Test against Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay a little over three weeks ago – and with the set pieces and contact points expected to be key areas of the game, they will look to make their presence felt.

Nienaber again opted for a six-two split of forwards on the bench where Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith and Jasper Wiese will add impetus along with the front row of Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Vincent Koch, while Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse will provide cover in the backline.

“This is an experienced group of players who knows what it takes to deliver under pressure, and we all know what we need to do to bounce back from last week’s defeat,” said Nienaber.

“Trevor is a Rugby World Cup winning prop and his experience, as well as Steven’s experience off the bench, will be valuable against the Wallabies, who place a big emphasis on the scrums, much like we do.

“Marvin has also been in our system for a while. He has been working hard at training, and this will be another great opportunity for him.

“We identified the areas in which we need to be more effective this week, and we have been working hard at training to rectify the mistakes we made, so the key for us will be to be as competitive as possible in every contest during the match so that we can lay a good foundation to attack from and to use our point-scoring chances.”

Nienaber expected another quality performance from the Wallabies and he looked forward to a great contest.

“Australia were desperate to win last week, and it showed in the way they played,” said Nienaber.

“There is no doubt the result would have given them confidence, so we are expecting to them deliver a similarly driven performance this week.

“That said, we know what we are capable of as a team, and we created sufficient opportunities to win last week, but we didn’t capitalise on them. So, we back our systems and structures, and it is now a matter of being as effective as possible in executing our plan.

“We are expecting another grind of a match, but we are ready for the challenge.

“Our next three matches will be similar to playing a quarter-final, semi-final and final if we want to defend our Castle Lager Rugby Championship title, and we are under no illusions about what it will take to achieve this.”

Matthew Carley (England) has been appointed the match referee, with Luke Pearce (England) and Graham Cooper (Australia) serving as the assistant referees, while Brett Cronan (Australia) will be the TMO.

The match, which kicks off at the Suncorp Stadium at 17h05 (09h05 SA time), will be broadcast live on SuperSport. 

Springbok team to face Australia at the Suncorp Stadium:

15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 67 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 13 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 20 caps, 20 pts (4t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 52 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 19 caps, 80 pts (16t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 54 caps, 532 pts (6t, 83c, 108p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 33 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls) – 55 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 45 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 57 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 –Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 0 pts
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 91 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 44 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 42 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 48 caps, 5pts (1t)

Replacements:

16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 40 caps, 45 pts (9t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 53 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 25 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Leicester Tigers) – 7 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 13 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 6 caps, 0 pts
22 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 15 caps, 25 pts (5t)
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 5pts (1t)

Springbok record against Australia:

Played 89; Won 48, Lost 38, Drawn 3; Points for 1759, Points against 1578; Tries scored 205, Tries conceded 160; Highest score 61 pts, Biggest win 45 pts; Win %: 54%.

Match stats:

  • The Springboks have played 15 Tests against Australia in Brisbane since 1956 and have won only three of those matches.
  • The average score for the 15 Tests is 24-15 in favour of Australia. 

Miscellaneous:

  • The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 691.
  • There are 258 caps in the backline with 388 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 172 caps.
  • The average caps per player in the backline are 36 the forwards 48 while the players on the bench average 21.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications