Bok midfield pairing has Coetzee excited

Jesse Kriel (Gallo Images)
Jesse Kriel (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Spare a thought for Lionel Mapoe

The Lions centre was given his sixth Test start against France in Durban last weekend and didn't do a lot wrong as the Springboks secured a clinical 37-15 win. 

Now, a week later, Mapoe finds himself with the SA 'A' side for their clash against the French Barbarians on Friday night. 

It is a sign of Springbok coach Allister Coetzee showing consistency in selection this year. 

While Mapoe was an able replacement in Durban, Jesse Kriel is the man that Coetzee has backed to be his No 13 for the series. 

Concussion ruled out the 23-year-old in Durban, but as soon as he was passed fit for Saturday's third Test in Johannesburg, he was always going to play. 

Coetzee is trying to back combinations wherever possible and he is clearly a fan of the all-Bulls centre pairing of Kriel and Jan Serfontein

"Jesse probably wasn't playing a lot at 13, but I know that Jan as a 12 with Jesse together ... they've been partners not just on the field but off of the field as well and that's very important to understand," Coetzee said at his team announcement on Thursday.

"Jesse is the out-and-out 13 that we're looking for with his pace and guile and he understands how important it is to give us that defensive width and make sure that the communication is solid.

"If you don't understand defence, we're in trouble and with him understanding his role well on defence and (fullback) Andries Coetzee helping our wings ... he's doing a fantastic job.

"The one important skill is the ability to communicate and Jesse has done well in that department as well."

Frans Steyn, meanwhile, will provide midfield cover off the bench for the third Test in a row. 

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.


South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds


15 Brice Dulin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Substitutes: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Vincent Rattez

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