CAPE TOWN – Pieter-Steph du Toit and Ross Cronjé have been recalled to the Springbok starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies in Perth.
Du Toit’s return to the No 5 jersey is welcome as he has made a big impact in recent Tests off the bench, while incumbent Franco Mostert hasn’t quite been his energetic self.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee pointed out on Thursday in a statement from Perth that Mostert has played a lot of rugby as well in 2017, and needs a break.
“Franco has played an enormous amount of rugby – at Super Rugby level, playing club rugby in Japan and starting all of our Tests matches so far this year,” said Coetzee.
“We have to be sensible in managing the workload of certain players, such as Franco. We are fortunate to have a number of very good locks. Pieter-Steph now gets an opportunity to start again, and we know what he is capable of.”
That shift sees Lood de Jager also get a look-in on the bench, along with flyhalf Handré Pollard, who replaces Curwin Bosch amongst the reserves.
Pollard’s inclusion is controversial as he has hardly played any rugby this year due to injury, but Coetzee was confident that the Bulls star was ready to fire.
“I am really satisfied with the way he has trained till now, and it’s great for the team to have a player of his calibre on the bench,” the coach said.
Cronjé’s selection was expected as he has recovered from an ankle problem, while tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen also came through training this week and is over his rib concern.
Saturday’s Test at the nib Stadium – the first time that the Boks will play at the home of the Western Force instead of Subiaco Oval – will kick off at 12pm SA time.
Teams For Perth
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 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende.
Wallabies: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Bench: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona.