The Springboks go through their paces during practice at Cardiff Arms Park on Tuesday. Photo: SA Rugby

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee faces a selection poser in the front row for the Test against Wales on Saturday.

Hooker Malcolm Marx is fit again, while prop Tendai Mtawarira is struggling with a groin injury and will be afforded as much time as possible to recover ahead of the final Test of the tour.

But there is no reason for Coetzee to sweat this one because he has more than sufficient and competent cover in the front row.

As fit as Marx is and an obvious starter in the side, it is long overdue that Coetzee does the right thing by not only affording a chance to hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Chiliboy Ralepelle, but it will also help grow the stocks in the No 2 jersey.

Marx has certainly been one of the stand-out players for the Boks this year, but the time has come for Coetzee to show faith in the abilities of Mbonambi and Ralepelle, who have been completely overlooked.

Against Italy, Mbonambi held his own and even scored a try in his first start in the Springbok jersey since making his debut last year against Ireland and regardless of the status of Marx, Mbonambi should be given another opportunity at starting against Wales.

The same applies to Ralepelle, who has sat on the bench in two Tests against Australia in Bloemfontein and the All Blacks in Cape Town without being afforded a second on the field.

Chiliboy Ralepelle should be given more game time against Wales. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Ralepelle is more than competent, having made his Bok debut 11 years ago, and this year turned back the hands of time with some good performances for the Sharks in Super Rugby.

Ralepelle did manage to get 20 minutes of game time against Italy, but he too should be given more time on the park, especially with his precision throwing into the lineout, his ability to scrum and the amount of work he does in acting as an extra loose forward.

Mtawarira must be rested not only for the sake of his health, but for Coetzee to unleash the might of Steven Kitshoff and Trevor Nyakane.

Kitshoff has proven over and over again that he is a potent “finisher”, but is equally as dangerous and valuable to the side as a starter.

So, Kitshoff should be handed the No 1 jersey and in the latter part of the game, Nyakane should be released to run amok in the scrums and open play.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee addresses the media in Cardiff.

The ever improving Wilco Louw should be given more time to establish himself on the international stage, and with Mbonambi and Kitshoff, he will be in familiar company as they often scrum down together at the Stormers.

Louw is certainly the future of the Springboks at tighthead prop, and he will only become better with more time spent playing, but Coetzee will be wise to finish off the game with Ruan Dreyer.

 

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