Boks shuffle pack for tough Italian job
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has shuffled his pack for Saturday’s third Test of the current northern hemisphere tour by including a new lock combination.
The Stormers second-row duo of Marvin Orie, who came off the bench against France last week, and Salmaan Moerat, will start a Test together for the first time.
The rejigging of the locks ends Eben Etzebeth’s 18-match starting streak as he takes a welcome break on the bench. It has been a remarkable sequence of durability, but more importantly, high-quality performances. It’s staggering that he hasn’t been shortlisted for World Player of the Year.
Franco Mostert shifts to blindside flank, with Pieter-Steph du Toit still awaiting the outcome of his disciplinary hearing following a red card against France.
Du Toit is likely to cop a ban of a few weeks, which will be a factor against England on 26 November if there are injuries to any loose forwards against Italy.
No 8 Jasper Wiese returns in place of Kwagga Smith for the Italian clash, following the concussion he sustained against Ireland in the first match of the tour. But this will be Wiese’s last appearance of the year because he must return to English club side Leicester next weekend.
With Wiese gone and Du Toit likely to be suspended, the Boks will start the England match without two of their three first-choice loose forwards. But that is a problem for another day.
Bruising inside centre Andre Esterhuizen also makes a rare start – his first since the second Test against Wales in July and only his second Test start in three years. That means Damian de Allende shifts to outside centre for his first start in the No 13 jersey since the Rugby World Cup 2019 match against Canada.
Read in Daily Maverick: “Courageous Boks see red and come up short against France in Marseille thriller”
The back three of Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux, from last weeks’ 30-26 defeat in Marseille, are retained.
Stormers loose forward Evan Roos will feature on the replacements bench alongside Etzebeth, Smith and the front row of Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch (both props) and Malcolm Marx (hooker) in a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench.
Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf) and Manie Libbok (utility back), ...