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Springboks make two injury-enforced changes for 3rd Test decider

By Liam Heagney

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Jacques Nienaber has made two changes to his starting team as the Springboks seek to seal their tempestuous Test series versus the Lions in next Saturday’s decisive third Test in Cape Town. Beaten 17-22 in the series opener on July 24, the Springboks struck back in last weekend’s second Test, overcoming a 6-9 interval deficit to win 27-9 after keeping the tourists scoreless in the second half. 

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Nienaber had made three alterations to his run-on side for that second Test riposte, props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe earning promotion from the bench and Jasper Wiese being brought in from outside the first Test matchday 23 to start at No8. 

He has now opted to make one less change for next weekend’s third Test. Injuries have forced out Faf de Klerk (muscle strain) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (shoulder), prising the door open for Cobus Reinach and Lood de Jager to be selected to start. The inclusion of de Jager at lock sees Mostert vacant the second row to line out in du Toit’s No7 jersey.

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Ex-Lions coach Graham Henry on what they must do to clinch the series versus the Springboks

Nienaber has also altered the make-up of his bench, reducing the bomb squad to five rather than repeat the six/two forwards/backs split that helped turn momentum South Africa’s way in the second Test. Veteran Morne Steyn is the additional back this week.

“This group of players are among a handful of players in the history of South African rugby that have an opportunity to clinch a series against the Lions after winning the Rugby World Cup, and every player in this squad understands what a rare honour that is,” said Nienaber.

“I don’t think one needs any more motivation than that to win this weekend. We are preparing for a physical encounter and we know that every small battle will count if we want to win the series. This match is as important to us as it is for the Lions, so we know it is going to be tight, and we will have to capitalise on every opportunity we have to score points and be effective in every area of our game.

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Nienaber announced his Springboks team shortly after Warren Gatland had made six changes to his Lions team. Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Ali Price were included in the backs at the expense of Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Chris Harris and Conor Murray while Wyn Jones and Ken Owens replaced Mako Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie in the pack.   

SPRINGBOKS (vs Lions, third Test, Saturday)
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 64 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse) – 16 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 17 caps, 20 pts (4t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 49 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 16 caps, 75 pts (15t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 51 caps, 494 pts (6t, 79c, 98p, 4d)
9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 15 caps, 35pts (7t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 2 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 42 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 53 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 47 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 88 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 41 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 39 caps, 40 pts (8t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 50 caps, 5pts (1t)

Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 36 caps, 30 pts (6t)
17 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 45 caps, 5 pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 22 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 4 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 9 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls) – 66 caps, 736 points (8t, 102c, 154p, 10d)
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 9 caps, 5pts (1t)

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Springboks make two injury-enforced changes for 3rd Test decider

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