Some fresh faces for Boks

2014-11-20 00:00

THE Springboks have made four changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s Test against Italy in Padova.

The shuffle sees loosehead prop Trevor Nyakane earn his first Test start, while Coenie Oosthuizen holds up the tighthead side of the Bok scrum in place of the injured Jannie du Plessis.

Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje moves back to blindside flank after Schalk Burger left the squad to give the younger flanks an opportunity to prove their mettle. Another big change is at fullback, where Willie le Roux shifts to the bench to give Johan Goosen a crack at the back.

There is also the exciting prospect of Western Province flank Nizaam Carr making his debut off the bench. After an outstanding Currie Cup, Carr is given an opportunity to show that he can make the step up to international rugby.

Lions prop Julian Redelinghuys is also likely to make his debut from the sidelines, while Beast Mtawarira sits out for a well-earned break.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer had a tough week considering changes, but opted for some continuity, knowing all too well that the Italians are a dark horse.

“If you look at our team, we are almost in a catch-22, with only six games left before the World Cup starts. You have to use every single game to prepare for that kick-off, so that’s why there weren’t too many changes in the starting line-up.”

Meyer also wanted to give his overseas-based players a chance, as next week’s Test falls outside the Test window — making them ineligible to play.

There has been plenty of competition among the loose forwards in the 36-man Bok squad. The likes of Jaco Kriel and a slightly injured Warren Whiteley were options this week, but Meyer backed Carr’s versatility, while throwing down a challenge to the talented loosie.

“I’m really happy for Nizaam. He’s running beautiful lines and has done really well in training. I said to him that the challenge was now to show that he could also play a physical game where there wasn’t a lot of space. It’s not an open Super Rugby type of game, where he’s brilliant — this is an arm-wrestle,” he said.

With the Italians well respected for their scrummaging prowess, Meyer is also expecting Nyakane to step up to the plate.

“Trevor has been brilliant from the bench. He’s improving a lot, and he’s really fit. But it’s different to play 15 to 20 minutes off the bench late in the game when the game opens up and there aren’t a lot of scrums.

“The test for him is to start against one of the best scrums in the world.”

Goosen’s inclusion is also interesting. The young flyhalf has played a few matches at fullback for his new French club, Racing Metro, and Meyer wants to see if he can step up to the challenge at Test level.

“It’s a calculated risk, but I truly believe Johan can be a world-class fullback, although I still think he can play 10 as well.”

Meyer also chose to stick with Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach as his half-back pairing. The Sharks duo took good control against England, and earned the right to have another chance from the get-go.

“Pat can also cover fullback, but I just felt he had done well at 10 and to move him to fullback and then back would be unsettling. I want to see what he can do in another game,” Meyer said.

The Boks take on Italy in Padova on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 4 pm.


Johan Goosen, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (c), Bryan Habana, Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Duane Vermeulen, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, Marcell Coetzee, Victor Matfield (vc), Eben Etzebeth, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Julian Redelinghuys, Lood de Jager, Nizaam Carr, Francois Hougaard, Handré Pollard, Willie le Roux.

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