Bok start for ace duo

2014-11-13 00:00

AFTER a disappointing loss to Ireland last weekend, the Springboks are looking to the Sharks half-back pairing of Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie to change their fortunes.

Both Reinach and Lambie replace Francois Hougaard and Handré Pollard at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively for the crunch clash against England this weekend.

Hougaard struggled to stamp his authority last weekend and a number of handling errors seem to have cost him his place. One could sympathise with Hougaard as the Boks were under heaps of pressure at the breakdown, but his passing seemed laboured and Meyer has opted for the livelier Reinach this time around.

Pollard moves out for the more experienced Lambie after a lacklustre showing against the Irish. The Bulls pivot was outshone by Ireland flyhalf Johnny Sexton, and he was often caught with the ball by Ireland’s rush defence.

Despite the changes to the starting XV, the full 23-man squad remains the same and Bok coach Heyneke Meyer said that it was always the plan to rotate players.

With that in mind, the Boks have made five changes to their run-on side altogether. Sharks wing JP Pietersen slots onto the left wing while Bok stalwart Schalk Burger starts at blindside flank while Oupa Mohoje shifts to the bench.

Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis also makes way for Adriaan Strauss, who made a good impact against the Irish despite copping a yellow card.

Looking at his pivot, Meyer is backing Lambie to produce the goods against the English.

“Pat started at Twickenham for us two years ago and did very well,” said Meyer.

“… Pat is tactically very astute and even though he’s still pretty young, he’s got a lot of experience.”

Lambie will also have to help his half-back partner Reinach, who is set for his first Test start. Despite the occasion, Meyer believes that Reinach has the right skill set and makes a good combination with Lambie.

“It’s a big occasion for Cobus, but he would not have been here if we didn’t believe he could deliver the goods, and he’ll be next to his provincial team-mate in Pat,” Meyer said.

The players that shift to the bench are still expected to deliver if and when they are called upon. Meyer places a lot of emphasis on the role of his impact players in the latter stages of Test matches.

“As usual, we’re also expecting our replacements to raise the intensity when they’re sent on and Bismarck, who had a very good game in Dublin especially in the set-pieces, ‘Oupa’, Francois, Cornal and Handré will provide important cover off the bench.”

SPRINGBOK TEAM (15-1)

Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (c), Bryan Habana, Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger, Marcell Coetzee, Victor Matfield (vc), Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bakkies Botha, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, Francois Hougaard, Handré Pollard, Cornal Hendricks.

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