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England pose ’different threats’ ... Springboks change halfbacks for Twickenham clash

Cobus Reinach will start in the No 9 jersey for the Springboks. Picrure: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Cobus Reinach will start in the No 9 jersey for the Springboks. Picrure: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Nov 16, 2021


Cape Town – Cobus Reinach and Handré Pollard are teammates at club level in France, and now they have been given an opportunity to start for the Springboks in Saturday’s Test against England at Twickenham.

Reinach and Pollard played off the bench for the Boks in last weekend’s 30-15 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, but will set the tone for the South Africans in the No 9 and No 10 jerseys in London (5.15pm SA time kickoff).

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The duo are both at French club Montpellier, although Pollard’s game time has been restricted over the last year due to a serious knee injury.

Reinach made a significant impact in the second half against Scotland, and he replaces Herschel Jantjies, who battled in Cardiff and Edinburgh and moves down to the bench.

Pollard will hope to continue where he left off against Wales, after Elton Jantjies produced a solid display in the pivot role at Murrayfield.

Stalwart lock Lood de Jager is also back in the run-on side announced by Bok coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday, with Franco Mostert shifting to the bench once more.

Nienaber resisted the temptation to bring in a specialist wing such as Sbu Nkosi for Jesse Kriel, who will continue at No 14, while there is again no place for youngster Aphelele Fassi in the match-23.

“We built up good momentum in the Tests against Wales and Scotland, and it is important for us to transfer that into our final match of the tour against England, so we opted to make only three changes to the starting team for this weekend’s clash,” Nienaber said in a statement on Tuesday.

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“England will pose different threats to Scotland, and with that in mind we have decided to start with Handré, Cobus and Lood.

“Elton, Herschel and Franco have shown that they can inject energy and ignite a spark on attack off the bench, which will be handy against an English outfit that we know will be highly charged up for this match.”

England will be seeking revenge for the 2019 Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa, where the Boks triumphed 32-12 in Yokohama, while some English players will also want to prove a point against Siya Kolisi’s team after the British and Irish Lions lost their Test series 2-1 earlier this year.

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“England have made it clear that they’ll come hard at us in this match, and with a few British and Irish Lions players in their midst, home-ground advantage and a new record of eight wins in a row against Australia adding to their motivation this weekend, so we know it will be a hard grind,” Nienaber said.

“That said, we will enter the match equally motivated, especially with the opportunity to retain our status as the top team in the world for a third successive season, and winning all three matches in the Outgoing Tour for the first time in eight years being a real prospect.

“This has been arguably the most challenging season for a Springbok team yet due to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to finish off the year with a victory against England would be a fantastic reward for the team.”

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Springbok Team

15 Willie le Roux 14 Jesse Kriel 13 Lukhanyo Am 12 Damian de Allende 11 Makazole Mapimpi 10 Handré Pollard 9 Cobus Reinach 8 Duane Vermeulen 7 Kwagga Smith 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Lood de Jager 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Trevor Nyakane 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Ox Nché.

Bench: 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 Franco Mostert 20 Jasper Wiese 21 Herschel Jantjies 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Frans Steyn.