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Player missing from photocall reveals late change for Springboks

By Rugby365
(Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

The Springboks have been forced into a late change ahead of their year-end Test against France at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on Saturday.

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The change became evident during the official team photograph, published on the Springbok team’s social media pages.

Jasper Wiese, who was doubtful after suffering a concussion in the loss to Ireland last week, did not appear in the team photograph – despite being named in the team earlier in the week.

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It was confirmed that Albertus Smith will start at No.8 against France.

The other dead giveaway from the photograph is that Deon Fourie, who was not named in the matchday squad this past Tuesday, appeared in the official matchday photograph.

He will provide loose forward cover off the bench.

South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus confirmed that Wiese was withdrawn on ‘instruction’ of World Rugby, who informed the team that the player had suffered a Category One concussion.

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“We had hoped that he could pass the Return to Play protocols,” Erasmus said at the team’s traditional captain’s media briefing on Friday.

He added that they had signed off on the protocol which means an automatic 10-day stand-down once the seriousness of the injury is confirmed – in this case Category One.

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“It is the first time this new [10-day] regulation is in place,” Erasmus said of the year-end Tests.

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The SA boss dismissed the suggestion that they opted for a ‘utility’ in Smith to start, ahead of a specialist No.8 like Evan Roos.

“We regard Kwagga as a No.8,” Erasmus said of Smith’s selection, adding: “He is definitely our second-choice No.8 after Jasper [Wiese].

“With the late change [bringing in] a guy like Deon [Fourie] just makes more sense for us.

“He knows the French culture and the way they play. He played here [in France] for a long time.

“Evan [Roos] has been with us for a while now and deserves a chance somewhere, but we must not forget how well Deon played.

“He [Fourie] is also a realistic option to take to the World Cup.”

South Africa – revised: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Albertus Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.

 

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