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Erasmus explains flyhalf gamble

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Rassie Erasmus explains his flyhalf gamble

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus promised to make ‘bold’ calls in order to find a squad capable of winning then World Cup next year.

On Thursday he made another of those calls – deciding to go into the decisive second Test against England, in Bloemfontein on Saturday, without a back-up flyhalf on the bench.

Instead two players on in the starting XV have been earmarked as back-up for first-choice No.10 Handre Pollard.

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The starting XV shows two changes from the side which beat England 42-39 at Ellis Park last week.

Frans Malherbe replaces his Stormers teammate Wilco Louw at tighthead prop. The other change sees Pieter-Steph du Toit returning to the starting XV in the No.7 jersey, with Jean-Luc du Preez moving to the bench.

However, the more significant selection is on the bench – Jesse Kriel for Elton Jantjies.

“With Jessie Kriel we felt, when the game opened up last Saturday, we needed some speed,” Erasmus said.

“Jessie covers No.13 and the outside backs.”

He added that fullback Willie le Roux and – in a case of an emergency – scrumhalf Francois de Klerk will come in at flyhalf if Pollard is pulled out of the game.

“Willie is the cover,” Erasmus said.

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The coach explained that Du Toit will be rotating between lock and flank for the foreseeable future.

“People always want to put a player in a specific box,” he said, when asked if Du Toit would specialise as a flank.

“It is wonderful if a guy can cover and is solid in both positions,” he said of the decision to play Du Toit at flank and lock.

“As we go forward we will use him in both positions.”

In other news:

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Rassie Erasmus explains his flyhalf gamble