CAPE TOWN – Uzair Cassiem and Coenie Oosthuizen will make rare starts for the Springboks in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Port Elizabeth.
Bok coach Allister Coetzee said at the team announcement in Port Elizabeth that Cassiem – who is normally a blindside flank – has operated at No 8 for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, and that his “lineout intelligence” was also a factor in being a similar player to injured captain Warren Whiteley.
Oosthuizen impressed off the bench during the June series against France, and will wear the No 3 jersey as Frans Malherbe is nursing a neck injury that has ruled him out of the tournament.
In a somewhat surprise move, Jaco Kriel – usually an openside flank – will start at No 7 ahead of a specialist in Jean-Luc du Preez.
But that selection is understandable as Los Pumas like to flood the breakdown and their loose forwards are quick across the ground, so the Boks will need Kriel’s pace and ball-carrying ability, as well as his leadership skills in Whiteley’s absence.
“Uzair is a very versatile loose forward, and the added advantage is that he is also an excellent option in the lineout,” Coetzee said.
“Coenie has played consistently well this season for the Sharks and he performed well for us whenever he came off the bench in the French series, while Trevor (Nyakane, on the bench) has worked extremely hard and deserves his opportunity.”
Sharks utility back Curwin Bosch has also been rewarded for his excellent Super Rugby form with a spot on the bench, where he will be the flyhalf cover.
“Curwin is a young player with huge potential and a bright future ahead of him,” said Coetzee.
“He showed in the very tough Super Rugby competition that he is a skilful player and a prolific goal-kicker, and he covers both fullback and flyhalf.
“He can be very proud of his inclusion in the match-day squad as he matriculated from Grey PE just two years ago.”
Saturday’s match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium kicks off at 5pm.
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 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende.