Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has made four personnel changes ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Wallabies, but cynical fans are not convinced.
As reported by Rugby365, the experienced Francois Louw (flanker), Ross Cronje (halfback) and Mahlatse Ralepelle (hooker) will all return to the team, while debutant Dillyn Leyds earns his spot at the expense of maligned wing Raymond Rhule.
The addition of Leyds, Cronje will help bolster the Springboks’ attack and tactical decision-making, while Louw will need to make an impact at the breakdown against a Michael Hooper-led Wallabies team bursting with pace and their own pressure to perform.
“It is great to resume the continuity between Ross and Elton Jantjies as a halfback combination. All three of our scrumhalves looked sharp during training this week,” said Coetzee.
— Brenden Nel (@BrendenNel) September 28, 2017
But are the four changes enough to turn around a team that was so badly decimated by the All Blacks just two weeks ago?
One area of contention is the outside backs, where fans have taken to social media to voice their support of wing Ruan Combrinck, whose form for the Lions in Super Rugby should have been enough to earn a Springboks call-up. But ultimately, the chances of a Springbok victory rest with a dominant up-front display on Saturday and this is where Allister Coetzee and his young captain Etzebeth will be under the most pressure.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) September 25, 2017
Coetzee has himself been under fire this week for his open criticism of players, but the Springbok coach says he is expecting his team to deliver a vastly improved performance against Australia this weekend.
“Our preparations have gone well this week and the players are excited and eager to improve on our previous performance,” said Coetzee.
“The Wallabies are a good side with many dangerous and classy players across the board. And they would have gained a lot of confidence from their previous outings.”
— Warren Fortune (@FortuneWarren) September 28, 2017
Springboks: Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Uzair Cassiem, Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Mahlatse Ralepelle, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Rudy Paige, Handré Pollard, Damian de Allende.
Wallabies: Israel Folau, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Scott Sio, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (captain), Sean McMahon. Replacements [one to be omitted]: Stephen Moore, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight.
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