Springbok team v All Blacks: Lood de Jager back, Kwagga Smith at flank, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn on bench
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CAPE TOWN - LOOD de Jager has recovered from concussion and will start for the Springboks in Saturday’s 100th Test against the All Blacks in Townsville.
The No 5 lock missed last Saturday’s 30-17 loss to the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, but will replace Marvin Orie in the starting XV in this weekend’s showdown.
While Orie was excellent in securing lineout ball against the Australians, De Jager’s experience and work-rate in defence, as well as being a strong ball-carrier, will add some much-needed bite to the Bok pack of forwards.
In the other change to the starting team, Kwagga Smith has been brought in at blindside flank, with Franco Mostert taking a breather on the bench.
There are two new faces among the replacements as well, with the experienced Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn providing additional backline cover, with coach Jacques Nienaber opting for a five-three bench split in favour of the forwards this time.
Star wing Cheslin Kolbe has still not recovered from a blow to the leg, but may be ready for next weekend’s Test against New Zealand, while Jasper Wiese’s disciplinary hearing for foul play will only be held later on Tuesday.
“It’s always a massive task to face the All Blacks,” Nienaber said. “They have skilful players who thrive on turnover ball and who know how to capitalise on point-scoring opportunities, so we know that we need to deliver a quality 80-minute performance against them to turn the corner after two disappointing defeats.
“Experience will be vital to ensure that we remain focused and calm throughout the match, and players such as Elton and Frans will bring that when they take the field. They have both played and won against the All Blacks, but they will also bring a set of different skills.
“Lood also boasts 51 Test caps, which will be valuable in this match, while Kwagga has faced them before as well, which gives us a chance to give Franco a well-deserved opportunity to be managed carefully this week after a physically taxing load since the season started.
“Both Elton and Frans have been training very well, they’ve also been in our structures for years and have performed well for the team in high-pressure matches, so we are keen to see what dynamic they will bring to the game.”
15 Willie le Roux 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Lukhanyo Am 12 Damian de Allende 11 Makazole Mapimpi 10 Handre Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Duane Vermeulen 7 Kwagga Smith 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Lood de Jager 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Bench: 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 Franco Mostert 20 Marco van Staden 21 Herschel Jantjies 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Frans Steyn.