Franco Mostern in action against the British Lions. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Franco Mostern in action against the British Lions. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Springboks back Franco Mostert to outflank the British Lions

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Aug 4, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - SPRINGBOK coach Jacques Nienaber is confident Franco Mostert will step up to the No 7 role in place of Pieter-Steph du Toit in the series decider against the British & Irish Lions.

The Boks take on the Lions in the third Test at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 6pm) after dismantling the tourists 27-9 in the second Test at the same venue last weekend.

Nienaber yesterday announced three changes to the starting line-up, with Du Toit and Faf de Klerk missing out due to injury and Mostert moving from lock to blindside flank.

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Du Toit took a knock to the shoulder in the second Test last weekend, while De Klerk has been ruled out due to a muscle strain in his leg. He has been replaced at scrumhalf by Cobus Reinach.

The Boks have gone with a fivethree split on the bench, with Morne Steyn (flyhalf) joining Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and Damian Willemse (utility back) among the replacements.

While he acknowledged that Du Toit is obviously a big loss, Nienaber had no concerns about Mostert’s ability to slot in on the side of the scrum.

“It is always big losing a guy like Pieter-Steph,” Nienaber said.

“He is so accustomed to the role

he has to play at seven but, in saying that, Franco has covered us there before.

“He is always a guy in preparation in the week who has to know both roles.

“I am confident in him and as you could see over the weekend (in the second Test) we had no issue moving him there.”

While some may have been excited by the possibility of seeing Duane Vermeulen back in the Bok back row after he was called up after the second Test, Nienaber explained that Vermeulen is in the process of returning to play and won’t feature against the Lions.

Vermeulen joined the Bok squad on Sunday after undergoing rehabilitation on the ankle injury he sustained while in Rainbow Cup duty with the Bulls.

“Duane is in the process of returning to play. The first phase is return to training and he did that. The guy who did his rehab did a wonderful job. He is now in the return-to-play process,” Nienaber said.

“We just got him into the mix. He did part of our training on Monday and we will not play him if he is not ready. He has got to be confident. He hasn’t been in the environment for quite a while so we also have to get him up to speed with how we do things. He has to be fully medically cleared and conditioned.

“We have the Rugby Championship after the British & Irish Lions and there will be strict protocols on getting players in in terms of Covid. So, we always try and get players in as quickly as possible.”

Springboks

Starting XV: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jasper Wiese, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (capt), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Morné Steyn, Damian Willemse

@WynonaLouw

IOL Sport

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