British Lions changes have made no difference to Boks’ preparations, says Frans Malherbe
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CAPE TOWN – Springbok tighthead Frans Malherbe says the front-row changes the British & Irish Lions have made for the Series-decider has made no difference to their own preparation.
Warren Gatland has made six changes to his starting line-up for the third Test.
In the pack, there are two changes to the front row with fit-again Wyn Jones returning to loosehead to make his Lions Test debut alongside Ken Owens, who will start his first Test of the tour at hooker. Tadhg Furlong continues at tighthead.
Asked whether it influenced their preparations, Malherbe said: “All of them are world-class players and we need to focus on ourselves and our prep. We need to make sure that we are sorted and that our systems are functioning at one hundred percent.
“I feel the focus is on us, all of them (Lions front-rowers) are at the same quality level, I feel. So, our focus should be on ourselves and I don’t think a lot changes in our prep (based on who starts for the opposition).
The Boks have gone with three changes to their run-on side for the decisive Test.
Pieter-Steph du Toit and Faf de Klerk missed out on selection due to injury and, while Franco Mostert moves from lock to blindside flank in a positional switch.
Malherbe went on to credit the second and back-row forwards for how they allow work together with the front row.
“A lot of credit has to go to our back five, they bought into our plan and without them I don’t think we would be able to generate a lot of power,” he explained.
Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber has spoken at length about the Bomb Squad and how everybody in the squad has a role to play.
In the second Test, the bench brought massive impact to help drive the Boks’ second-half surge after trailing 6-9 at the break. They went on to win the game 27-9.
Malherbe, who was part of the starting front row last week, supported Nienaber’s sentiments when speaking during the team announcement press conference earlier this week.
“We are working together to make the team better, I know that may sound like a cliche, but the best example of that for me was coming off the field and seeing the impact the bench made. That’s what it’s about for us.”