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Springboks make three changes to their starting team to face Wales

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Springboks boss Jacques Nienaber has named a team to face Wales next Saturday that shows three changes from the XV that picked off the All Blacks on the Gold Coast at the beginning of October. South Africa pulled off a 31-29 round six win over New Zealand in round six of the Rugby Championship just over four weeks ago, replacement Elton Jantjies kicking a penalty after the final hooter to see his country snap a three-match losing streak in dramatic fashion.

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Despite being under immense pressure coming into that final match in Australia following losses to the Wallabies (two) and the All Blacks, Nienaber resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes. Just a single alteration was made to that round six XV, Ox Nche starting at loosehead with Trevor Nyakane moving across to tighthead where the injured Frans Malherbe lost out.

However, three changes to the starting team have now been made by the Springboks to take on Wales, who were shredded last Saturday by the All Blacks. Damian Willemse is at full-back next Saturday for Willie le Roux due to rotation, midfielder Jesse Kriel is surprisingly on the wing in place of Sbu Nkosi who is yet to travel to the UK as he awaits the necessary paperwork, while Herschel Jantjies will start at scrum-half in place of the injured Faf de Klerk.

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The starting pack remains the same at the one that began versus the All Blacks on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, Jantjies’ promotion to the starting line-up sees Cobus Reinach drafted onto the replacements bench in the only change among the reserves.

“We selected this squad with an eye on maintaining consistency in selection from the Rugby Championship, but at the same time giving players who have been knocking on the door for a while now an opportunity to play,” said Nienaber.

“Damian and Herschel have featured off the bench a fair bit and this is a fantastic opportunity to give them a chance to start as we look to build our squad depth with an eye on the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Jesse has also been training hard – he is very experienced and he brings the physicality that will be necessary against Wales.

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“We know what we have in Willie and Faf, and it is important to give Damian and Herschel game time to develop and measure themselves in starting roles. Wales are a quality outfit and this will present an exciting opportunity for all of these players to make their mark in what is a very important Test to set the tone for this tour, and also in the lead-up to the World Cup.”

SPRINGBOKS (vs Wales, Saturday)
15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 14 caps, 5pts (1t)
14 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 48 caps, 60 pts (12t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 23 caps, 25 pts (5t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 55 caps, 35 pts (7t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 22 caps, 85 pts (17t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 57 caps, 568 pts (6t, 83c, 120p, 4d)
9 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 18 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Ulster) – 58 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 16 caps, 5 pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 60 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 53 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 94 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 51 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 45 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 6 caps, 0pts
Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 43 caps, 45 pts (9t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 56 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 28 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 48 caps, 5pts (1t)
20 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 8 caps, 0 pts
21 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 18 caps, 40pts (8t)
22 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 41 caps, 309 pts (2t, 64c, 56p, 1d)
23 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 71 caps, 141pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)

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