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Orie sheds his Itoje role to make first Test start for Springboks

By Chris Jones
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 02: Marvin Orie of South Africa catches the ball during the Rugby Union international match between South Africa and Georgia at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on July 02, 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Lock Marvin Orie is being given the chance to make a name for himself in the South Africa second-row against Argentina in Saturday’s second Rugby Championship clash having spent the series against the British & Irish Lions impersonating England star Maro Itoje during training.

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In a bid to counter the impact of Itoje, who was voted the Lions Player of the Series, Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber handed Orie the role of replicating the kind of problems the Saracens lock would pose. Having successfully adopted that role, Orie now makes his first Test start and gets to pack down with Sale Sharks lock Lood de Jager, who wins his 50th cap, against a Pumas side that lost 32-12 in the first game last weekend.

The Springboks have made 17 changes to their match 23 with Eben Etzebeth given a break after his heroics during the Lions series and against the Pumas pack. Orie’s four Test caps have come off the bench but Nienaber said the player deserved a starting run.

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“Marvin has been part of the squad for a while. I must say, when I heard it was his first Test start, I was quite surprised because I remember him being part of the World Cup mix, building up in the Rugby Championship in 2019. Obviously he missed out on going to the World Cup. So he has been in and around our team environment for a while,” said Nienaber.

“He has been training really well. He has been energetic. In the British & Irish Lions series, he was Maro Itoje for us. He studied him, his mannerisms and how he calls lineouts. Marvin was phenomenal in preparing the team in the Lions series.”

There’s also a potential Springbok debut for Montpellier lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, who has been named on a bench featuring a six-two split between forwards and backs.”Nicolaas has been part of us since we got together in Bloemfontein. So he is pretty much clued up with our systems. I am looking forward to seeing him perform on the weekend.”

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Orie sheds his Itoje role to make first Test start for Springboks

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