Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World



Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam

Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

RugbyPass+ Home

Wounded Springboks make five starting team changes to face France

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Jacques Nienaber has reacted to last Saturday’s defeat to Ireland by naming a Springboks side to face France in Marseille next weekend showing five changes from the team beaten 19-16 in Dublin. With Lood de Jager injured in that Autumn Nations Series opener, a change was always needed at second row to take on the French and Franco Mostert, a try-scorer off the bench last Saturday, will now start alongside Eben Etzebeth.


However, Springboks head coach Nienaber hasn’t limited his team changes to that sole injury-enforced alteration as there are two other changes in the pack – both in the front row – and two more in the backs while Manie Libbok, the uncapped fly-half, has been named on a bench that this week contains just five forwards and an extra third back.

Nienaber has opted to alter his starting loosehead and hooker with Ox Nche and Bongi Mbonambi respectively taking over from the benched Steven Kitshoff and Malcolm Marx. In the backs, Faf de Klerk, a replacement in Dublin, is back as the starting No9 in place of Jaden Hendrikse, who has been excluded from the matchday 23. Willie le Roux – another sub against Ireland – has also been promoted to start at full-back, a selection that has resulted in a few positional switches.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Cheslin Kolbe, who began at full-back at the Aviva Stadium for the first time in his Test career, will now line out at No14 with Kurt-Lee Arendse switching to the left wing and Makazole Mapimpi dropping to the bench as the 23rd man in place of the starting le Roux.

Mostert’s bench place is taken by Marvin Orie, Cobus Reinach takes the spot vacated by de Klerk while Nienaber has sacrificed Dean Fourie, last week’s sixth sub forward, for the inclusion of Libbok, the SA U20s fly-half. The decision comes off the back of the Springboks having issues with their kicking versus Ireland.

One of the changes was injury-enforced as Lood suffered a shoulder injury against Ireland, while we opted to make a few tactical personnel changes for the challenge that we expect France to pose,” explained Springboks boss Nienaber after naming his latest team from the Grand Hotel des Sablettes. “We know what each of the players in this squad can do, and we thought these combinations fit this specific game.


“A guy like Cobus will also bring a different dimension to our attack, and it is a bonus that he knows the conditions in France and has also played with some of their players.

“Manie, meanwhile, has shown his big match temperament in the URC and he has been training well since joining the team, so if he gets a run, it will be a great occasion to make his Test debut. It is going to be a challenging game but it doesn’t get better than playing against the second-ranked team in the world on your debut.

“We know what our players are capable of and if we had capitalised on more of our opportunities against Ireland we could have been on the right end of the scoreboard. The reality is that we lost against the best team in the world at home in front of a capacity crowd by three points.

“We have spoken about what went wrong last week and we are working hard on rectifying those areas so that we can play to our potential and make the nation proud this weekend.”


Springboks (vs France, Saturday)
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 80 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon) – 21 caps, 53 pts (10t, 1p)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 57 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 67 caps, 45 pts (9t)
11 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 4 caps, 15 pts (3t)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 24 caps, 22 pts (1t, 4c, 3p)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 43 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 19 caps, 5 pts (1t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 65 caps, 15 pts (3t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 72 caps, 40 pts (8t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 60 caps, 15 pts (3t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 107 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 55 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 53 caps, 55 pts (11t)
1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 16 caps, 0 pts

16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 56 caps, 65 pts (13t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 68 caps, 5 pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (unattached) – 39 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 8 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 28 caps, 15 pts (3t)
21 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 22 caps, 40 pts (8t)
22 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – uncapped
23 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 34 caps, 110 pts (22t)


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
RUGBYPASS+ Team of the Autumn Series Team of the Autumn Series