Ross Cronjé in action against France on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Francois Hougaard is set to take over the No 9 jersey when the Springboks face France in the third and final Test of their series in Johannesburg this Saturday.

The door has opened for the former Bulls man to play at scrumhalf following the ruling out of Ross Cronje, who started in the first and second Tests.

Cronje showed signs of concussion during training on Monday afternoon and was on Tuesday ruled out of the match.

Hougaard is the favourite for the No 9 jersey having played off the bench in the first two Tests. Rudy Paige will in all likelihood come into the side on the bench.

In other news, it would appear that Jesse Kriel will be back at outside centre after missing the second Test because of concussion. He has recovered to be considered this week and news on Tuesday that Lionel Mapoe – who started in Durban last weekend – has been released to the SA A side makes it a done deal that Kriel will be back next to Jan Serfontein.

Also released from the squad is back-up centre Francois Venter, who'll also be available for the A side. They're up against the French Barbarians in a second "Test" at Orlando Stadium on Friday.

Head coach Allister Coetzee has also intimated he will consider Jaco Kriel, who wasn't in the selection frame in the first two Tests after recovering from a knee injury.

Coetzee will name his team on Thursday.


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