Malcolm set to make his Marx for Springboks against Wales in London

Malcolm Marx looked delighted to be back at Springbok training at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this week. Photo: BackpagePix

Malcolm Marx looked delighted to be back at Springbok training at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this week. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 21, 2024


There will be some expected growing pains tomorrow afternoon at Twickenham for the Springboks, but the opening Test against Wales should provide more answers than questions for head coach Rassie Erasmus and his players.

In their opening Test of 2024 – the first since winning the World Cup last year – the Boks will take on an inexperienced Wales in London (3pm SA time start), and although they are also without some stars, the world champions will want to set an early standard by dominating proceedings.

For several players, tomorrow’s duel against the Dragons can set the tone for their season and how they will fit into the returning Erasmus’ plans as he builds a squad for the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

No one will be more eager than Bok hooker Malcolm Marx to return to the rugby field after a World Cup injury ruled him out of the entire Japanese club season.

That means he hasn’t played any rugby for over nine months, since picking up the serious knee injury during training in France ahead of the group clash against Romania in September.

Starting Marx will give Erasmus and his assistants the ability to manage his playing time, especially in an expected physical battle with the Welsh.

— Springboks (@Springboks) June 19, 2024

If it depends on the hooker, though, he will want to play for as long as he can to prove his fitness ahead of the Irish Test series in July.

Marx’s scrummaging and lineouts will be keenly watched during his return, but his jackling presence at the breakdown and the strong ball-carries will be needed.

Then, there is his battle with Welsh hooker and captain Dewi Lake that will be one to watch.

The duo shared some choice words back in 2022. when Marx also gestured for him to “bring it” when the British and Irish Lions toured South Africa, and there should be some more spice upfront between the two.

Apart from Marx, Bok No 8 Evan Roos also has unfinished business at Twickenham.

In his last match for South Africa – coincidentally at the same stadium – he injured his ribs against England, after which he sustained a knee injury that robbed him of an opportunity to push for a World Cup spot.

He has since shown tremendous growth at the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship, and will be eager for that to translate to the international playing field.

There is a Bok No 8 jumper up for grabs against Ireland, and he will be keen to put his best foot forward tomorrow and have a go at it in the absence of World Cup winner Jasper Wiese, who is still suspended.

For debutants Jordan Hendrikse and Edwill van der Merwe, it will be an opportunity to make their mark as the Lions’ first Springboks in a few years.

In the absence of the Boks’ regular flyhalves, Handré Pollard and Manie Libbok, Hendrikse can keep his name in the conversation with a solid performance on debut.

The 22-year-old is not just a great attacker who looks for space, but he has an excellent kicking boot on him. One of his other stand-out traits is his solid defence in the 10-12 channel.

— Springboks (@Springboks) June 18, 2024

Van der Merwe finally gets his breakthrough after years of grinding, and although the Springboks sport some dangerous wings who are currently injured, a good debut will only grow his stocks.

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