All four scrumhalves get a go as Springboks unleash hungry fringe players against poor Romania

Cobus Reinach will start in the number 9 jersey in the Springboks second Rugby World Cup game this weekend

FILE - Cobus Reinach will start in the number 9 jersey in the Springboks second Rugby World Cup game this weekend. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Sep 13, 2023


All four scrumhalves will feature in the Springboks’ second Rugby World Cup game against Romania on Sunday.

Coach Jacques Nienaber named a rotated squad for the clash, which will be captained by hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Of the four scrumhalves, Cobur Reinach will start in the number 9 jersey, while Grant Williams has been pencilled in to start on the right wing. Faf de Klerk and Jaden Hendrickse will be on the bench.

Damian Willemse, who will play at flyhalf, is the only player retained from last weekend’s win against Scotland. There is also a return for Makazole Mapimpi on the left wing, whie Andre Esterhuizen and Canan Moodie will do duty in the midfield.

Veteran Willie le Roux comes in at 15 after playing off the bench last weekend.

“People were surprised when we picked four scrumhalves in the squad but we knew they offered us the skills and versatility to provide backline options to manage the challenges that tournament rugby gives you,” said Springbok coach Nienaber.

“They are all excellent scrumhalves, but Grant and Cobus can play wing and Faf has experience at No 10 – as do Cheslin and Willie. We have the same versatility among our forwards.

“Grant played school rugby on the wing, and he has come on at wing before for us, so we are excited to give him this opportunity to start there and for him to gain international experience in the position.

“Faf is also one of our back up flyhalves in the squad, and the same applies to him, as it will be valuable for him and the team to get some game time in the position.

“We have been rotating and testing players in different positions since last season to put us in the fortunate position to have a group of 33 players in France that are closely matched in terms of their quality of play and skills, and who have been pushing one another for places in the last few months. It has allowed us to select a top-quality team for this match.”

Among the forwards, Ox Nche and Vincent Koch join the captain in the front row, while Marvin Orie will partner former Ireland lock Jean Kleyn in the second row.

Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith and the experienced Duane Vermeulen round up the back row.

“This squad includes several Rugby World Cup winners and some of the best young talent in the country and we are excited to see what they can do. Player management is vital as every game in the World Cup is essentially a play-off game, and it is important that our squad remains sharp and match fit throughout the competition.”

The Springboks game will kick off at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

Springbok team for Sunday

15, Willie le Roux; 14, Grant Williams; 13, Canan Moodie; 12, Andre Esterhuizen; 11, Makazole Mapimpi; 10, Damian Willemse; 9, Cobus Reinach; 8, Duane Vermeulen; 7, Kwagga Smith; 6, Marco van Staden; 5, Marvin Orie; 4, Jean Kleyn; 3, Vincent Koch; 2, Bongi Mbonambi (capt); 1, Ox Nche

Replacements: 16, Deon Fourie; 17, Steven Kitshoff; 18, Trevor Nyakane; 19, RG Snyman; 20, Jasper Wiese; 21, Jaden Hendrikse; 22, Faf de Klerk; 23 Jesse Kriel

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