Bok baptism for Malherbe

Frans Malherbe (Gallo Images)
Frans Malherbe (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Frans Malherbe is likely to start at tighthead prop for the Springboks when they tackle Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was reluctant to disclose who will wear the No 3 jersey in place of Jannie du Plessis, but a reliable source revealed to Die Burger that the Western Province man will make his Test debut.

"Our plan to groom Coenie Oosthuizen as a tighthead is a long-term one," said Meyer.

This means Malherbe and Lourens Adriaanse - both uncapped - are the only other remaining options.

There will at least be two experienced looseheads in the squad, with Beast Mtawarira likely to start and Gurthrö Steenkamp providing cover on the bench.

Meyer will also resist the temptation to pick Pieter-Steph du Toit as Eben Etzebeth's lock partner, with Flip van der Merwe expected to get the nod.

"Pieter-Steph's general play is up there with the best in the world. The trouble however is that - within our system - the No 5 lock needs to take the lead in the lineouts. You can’t expect that from him in his first Test," said Meyer.

Meanwhile, among the backs, JP Pietersen is likely to be picked at right wing in place of Willie le Roux, and Jaque Fourie is expected to replace JJ Engelbrecht at outside centre.

Meyer will name his team on Wednesday.

Kick-off at the Millennium Stadium is at 19:30 (SA time) on Saturday.
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