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Duane Vermeulen: 'My goal has never changed, I want to represent the Springboks at the World Cup'

Man-of-the-match at the last World Cup final, and turning 37 next month, the legendary No 8 still has the hunger for one last dance in France

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Two changes to Springboks team and bomb squad is also beefed up

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Jacques Nienaber has named a Springboks team showing two changes for this Saturday’s Rugby Championship finale versus Argentina in Durban. The South Africans won 36-20 in last weekend’s round five clash between the teams in Buenos Aires and with fly-half Damian Willemse falling victim to a concussion and unavailable for round six, an altered line-up was always set to be confirmed.


The place of Willemse at No10 goes to Frans Steyn, a round five sub who closed out the victory last Saturday when introduced off of the bench. The other change to the Springboks’ starting team sees the fit-again Pieter-Steph du Toit included at openside in place of Franco Mostert, who drops to a recalibrated bench of six forwards/two backs where Elrigh Louw loses out.

Other alterations to the replacements see the return of Bongi Mbonambi following his knee injury. He takes over from Deon Fourie as the reserve hooker. Vincent Koch is in for Trevor Nyakane) and Duane Vermeulen is included as the sixth forward with midfielder Andre Esterhuizen dropping out. Kurt-Lee Arendse, who has completed his suspension following a dangerous tackle last month, is named as the 23rd man in place of the promoted Steyn.

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“We showed in the first half last week what we are capable of and our fighting spirit in the dying minutes was admirable,” said Springboks boss Nienaber after unveiling his latest team selection. “That made it easy for us to opt for continuity in selection in the starting lineup. Obviously, the one change was injury-enforced as Damian Willemse has been ruled out due to a concussion and we were pleased with the calmness Frans Steyn brought at fly-half when Damian left the field.

“The energy and enthusiasm Pieter-Steph has been showing at training has also been great, and we know what he is capable of in this loose trio, so I am sure he will make an impact among the loose forwards.”


On the decision to name a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench, Nienaber added: “We know what challenges Argentina will pose and we feel that this would be the best option for us for this match specifically. We have a group of hungry and talented players serving in the bomb squad this week and every player in the match day squad knows what is expected of them if we want to win the Rugby Championship.”


The Springboks are currently level on 14 points with New Zealand on the table and trail the All Blacks by 13 points on points difference. The Boks, however, will know exactly what they need to do in their match to clinch the title when they take the field as the All Blacks will host Australia in Auckland earlier in the day.

Springboks (vs Argentina, Saturday)
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 78 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 2 caps, 5pts (1t)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 55 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 65 caps, 45 pts, (9t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 32 caps, 110 pts (22t)
10 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 77 caps, 156 pts (11t, 10c, 24p, 3d)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 9 caps, 10 pts (2t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 17 caps, 0 pts
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 63 caps, 15 pts (3t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 70 caps, 35 pts (7t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Wild Knights) – 63 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 105 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 53 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 54 caps, 65 pts (13t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 66 caps, 5 pts (1t)

16 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 51 caps, 55 pts (11t)
17 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 14 caps, 0 pts
18 – Vincent Koch (Wasps) – 36 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 58 caps, 10 pts (2t)
20 – Duane Vermeulen (Ulster) – 64 caps, 15 pts (3t)
21 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 26 caps, 15 pts (3t)
22 – Faf de Klerk (Yokohama Canon Eagles) – 41 caps, 25 pts (5t)
23 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 2 caps, 5 pts (1t)


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