Test of 2 nations

2014-11-23 15:00

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The Springboks’ match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday (kick off 4.30pm) is shaping up to be a fascinating pre-World Cup test of the depth of both nations.

The match falls outside the official test match window of World Rugby (the new name of the International Rugby Board) and so both teams will be without players contracted to professional clubs.

The Springboks will thus be unable to field their back three from yesterday’s test against Italy – Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen – as well as prop Gurthrö Steenkamp, who was on the bench.

Schalk Burger, Bakkies Botha, Jano Vermaak and Morné Steyn are also out of the reckoning, while Jannie du Plessis is on the injured list.

It will be a chance for Heyneke Meyer to experiment, with an eye on next year’s World Cup; and the Bok coach might, in fact, be in a far better position than his counterpart Warren Gatland.

City Press could not establish which Welsh players were out of contention, despite making numerous enquiries. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne), George North (Northampton Saints), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro) and James Hook (Gloucester) are all contracted to foreign clubs.

All bar Hook were in the Welsh squad that played against the All Blacks yesterday.

Although Meyer tends to be a conservative selector, it could be a chance for him to challenge some of his fringe players to step up to the mark.

Assuming no injuries, a possible Bok squad could look like this:

15. Willie le Roux, 14. Cornal Hendricks,

13. Damian de Allende, 12. Jean de Villiers (capt), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Nizaam Carr, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Victor Matfield, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Trevor Nyakane.

Substitutes: 16. Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17. Coenie Oosthuizen, 18. Lood de Jager, 19. Warren Whiteley, 20. Jaco Kriel, 21. Francois Hougaard, 22. Handré Pollard, 23. Seabelo Senatla.

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