CAPE TOWN – Franco Mostert has been recalled to the Springbok starting line-up for Saturday’s huge Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Albany.
Bok coach Allister Coetzee sprung somewhat of a surprise by dropping Pieter-Steph du Toit to the bench after the Stormers lock was outstanding in last week’s 23-23 draw against the Wallabies in Perth.
But Mostert was officially rested for that match due to the high amount of rugby he has played in 2017, and has been brought back for his excellent work-rate against the energetic All Black lock pair of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock.
Du Toit, though, can feel hard done by as he brought a dynamic edge to the Springbok attack with his ball-carrying and ability to contest the lineouts.
Coach Coetzee also made a big call to opt for Lions No 3 Ruan Dreyer in the starting line-up ahead of Trevor Nyakane in the absence of the injured Coenie Oosthuizen.
Nyakane was on the bench against Australia and was next-in-line, and after Oosthuizen sustained a broken arm at the nib Stadium, Nyakane should’ve the logical choice – especially as Dreyer has battled a bit and conceded quite a few penalties in Test-match rugby.
“Pieter-Steph did very well when he stepped in for Franco last weekend in a rotational switch,” Coetzee said in a statement from Auckland on Thursday.
“Franco had five superb matches before he was rested last week, he is refreshed again, and I expect another strong performance from him as his high work-rate is much needed.
“Ruan did well when he replaced Frans Malherbe against a powerful French front row in June, and he will start on Saturday because we want to persist with Trevor Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff as a combination off the bench to make an impact in the second half.”
Jean-Luc du Preez is also a new addition to the starting XV, making his second start for the Boks following Jaco Kriel’s withdrawal due to a groin injury.
Coetzee has gone for two locks on the bench in Lood de Jager and Du Toit, which means that Dan du Preez misses out on the loose-forward cover spot, with Du Toit able to slot in as a flank if required.
Saturday’s clash kicks off at 9.35am SA time at the North Harbour Stadium in Albany, and will be refereed by Nigel Owens of Wales as the Boks go in search of their first win against the All Blacks since October 2014.
“They are the number one side in the world both in rankings
and experience, and there is no greater contest than to play them in
“The rivalry between the two sides is filled with rich history, and on Saturday, we get an opportunity to be part of that. They are always at their best when playing the Springboks, and we are expecting another huge battle.
“There is no room for errors against the All Blacks because they will punish you for every mistake. We prepared well for this challenge, and we will get another opportunity to gain more valuable experience as we continue to grow as a team.”
Teams For Albany
Springboks: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende.
All Blacks: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames.
Bench: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.