Coetzee: Tighthead depth makes us healthy

Ruan Dreyer (Gallo)
Ruan Dreyer (Gallo)

Johannesburg - The big surprise in Springbok coach Allister Coetzee's team selection for the third Test against France in Johannesburg on Saturday was the inclusion of Ruan Dreyer

The 26-year-old Lions tighthead comes straight into the starting line-up for his Test debut while Frans Malherbe drops out of the squad completely after starting both of the first two Tests. 

It is the first time this series that Coetzee has made a tactical change that wasn't the result of an injury or a player returning from injury. 

It appeared that Coenie Oosthuizen was next in line for a start, especially given his dominant display off the bench in the second Test in Durban, but Coetzee has instead opted to give Dreyer a go in the No 3 jersey. 

As the Boks continue their year of recovery following a woeful 2016, Coetzee believes that their depth in the position is a sign that they are on the right track. 

"I said in the week that it is also an opportunity to build capacity in the side. When you look at the other two tightheads that we have, we're really fortunate," he said.

"Frans Malherbe has played two fantastic Tests as a starting tighthead and Coenie off the bench was exceptional.

"A national team's rugby is always healthy when you have proper tightheads and I think with the three of them, they are really doing a fantastic job.

"Ruan has worked really hard. He's played well in Super Rugby and in a combination with Malcolm Marx, this is an ideal time to give him an opportunity."

The other changes in the side see Francois Hougaard in for Ross Cronje, Jesse Kriel in for Lionel Mapoe and Jean-Luc du Preez in for Oupa Mohoje. 

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 Francois Hougaard, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcom 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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