Coetzee: No sweat over rookie outside backs

Courtnall Skosan (Gallo)
Courtnall Skosan (Gallo)

Cape Town - Three of the four Springbok debutants for Saturday's clash against France at Loftus are outside backs. 

It was almost unavoidable given the squad that Allister Coetzee went for ahead of the series, but he did have the option of playing Frans Steyn at fullback and Francois Hougaard or Jesse Kriel at wing. 

Instead, Andries Coetzee will start in the No 15 jersey while Raymond Rhule and Courtnall Skosan have been named on the wings. 

With France expected to test the Boks aerially, it is an area that will demand cool heads. 

That, of course, is not something that can be guaranteed by a player representing his country for the first time. 

But while, on paper, this looks an area of potential concern for the Boks, Coetzee is confident in the players he has chosen to do the job. 

"When it comes to Test match rugby they might be inexperienced, but they are seasoned campaigners and good rugby players," he said of Coetzee, Rhule and Skosan.

"When you look at those players you see wingers that work hard, are pacey, they come off their line, they don't stand and get cold there, they're big and strong ... they've got different attributes they will bring to the party."

Coetzee added that he was not concerned by the size of his back three, emphasising that they would bring an 'x-factor' to Loftus.

He said the more experienced Boks would rally around the newbies.

"Becoming a Springbok is always an emotional thing. What is important is to channel it into the right direction," he said.

"We've spoken about the expectation. The big thing is that it's not about the individual ... he must never feel alone in a Test match or alone in his emotions.

"It's always going to be an 'us' and a 'we' thing, sharing those emotions and making sure that nobody is unsure of what he must do."

The other debutant in the starting line-up is scrumhalf Ross Cronje, while Dillyn Leyds will also earn his first cap if he comes off the bench.

Kick-off 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 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds



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