Malcolm Marx, who was the Man of the Match last week, rides a tackle from Coenie Oosthuizen in Durban this week. Photo: BackpagePix
Malcolm Marx, who was the Man of the Match last week, rides a tackle from Coenie Oosthuizen in Durban this week. Photo: BackpagePix
Locks Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert will look to keep up the tempo against a stronger French pack on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix
Locks Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert will look to keep up the tempo against a stronger French pack on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

DURBAN – After the trials and tribulations of 2016, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee had a smile on his face yesterday when he said that the door had been closed on last season.

And his selection meeting this week was one of the shortest he has ever had for the second Test against France at Kings Park on Saturday (5pm kickoff).

Coetzee made just one injury-enforced change to the match-23 that did duty in the 37-14 first Test victory at Loftus Versfeld last weekend, with Lionel Mapoe replacing the concussed Jesse Kriel at outside centre. 

“We went for combinations when selecting our team for the first Test, and those combinations all came through with flying colours. So, when your players have gelled together smoothly, why would you want to change?” the coach said.

In terms of looking for improvement against the French, Coetzee said that the gain-line battle this week was going to be a big step up now that the French have augmented their team with seven players that had not been available for the first Test because of commitment to the French Top 14 final.

“Not only that, they are hurting after losing, and they are going to come charging at us to knock us out of our stride. We have to be up for that physical battle, because it is most definitely coming,” Coetzee said.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee was in a happy mood following the win at Loftus. Photo: BackpagePix


“We want to carry on playing with width and utilise our dangerous back-three, and they will want to shut us down. And it all comes down to who wins the collisions around the rucks and mauls. Obviously both teams want to generate momentum in order to attack.”

Coetzee said that he was not overly worried about his team’s hunger to front-up to the challenge at the breakdown, but was by no means complacent.

“It is also about the set-piece, and ours was good in Pretoria. So now we know they are going to be looking to set the record straight in the set scrums and lineouts, so we have to make sure we get even better in these departments.”

Coetzee said that this week will be about a big mental shift for his players.

“The French won’t be pleased with how they performed at Loftus Versfeld, and that is their business. But we are off to a good start, and we are not going to sit back and think it is going to be easy from now on,” the coach said.

“Not at all. The French are going to go up a notch or two, and we have to make sure we do the same.

“If we want to win the series, we have to show even more urgency and commitment this week, because we certainly know that the French will a vastly different team, having come off a loss.”

Springbok Team

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Oupa Mohoje 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds.

IOL Sport

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