CAPE TOWN - Cheslin Kolbe is still not ready, but Ox Nche will get his chance to make an impact for the Springboks in Saturday’s final Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks.
The Bok management said on Tuesday that Kolbe, who will now miss all four games on tour due to a leg injury, was able to train with the team this week, but was “unable to complete the last training session”.
This means Sbu Nkosi will line up at right wing once more at the Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Saturday (12.05pm SA time kickoff).
There were a few injury-enforced changes announced by coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday, with Nche coming in at No 1 for Trevor Nyakane, who moves over to tighthead prop for Frans Malherbe, who has a neck niggle.
On the bench, Jasper Wiese replaces Marco van Staden, who sustained a shoulder injury in the 19-17 loss to the All Blacks in Townsville last weekend.
“We made a big step-up in terms of our performance last week and having reviewed the match, there is no doubt we delivered a performance worthy of a victory,” Nienaber said on Tuesday.
“With that in mind, we opted for continuity in our team, so the only change in the run-on side is Ox taking over in the front row after Frans was ruled out. Trevor is a seasoned campaigner who is equally comfortable at loosehead and tighthead prop, and Ox is a strong scrummager, so we are looking forward to seeing what they can do in the scrums.
“Cheslin would have started the match if he made a full recovery from the leg injury which has kept him out since the beginning of our Australian tour, but unfortunately his injury flared up during the latter stages of Tuesday’s field session, so we could not select him.
“On the bench, Jasper takes over from Marco, and we are fortunate in that they are similar in terms of their physicality and strong ball-carrying abilities.
“We are bitterly disappointed about the results in the last few weeks and everyone in our team realises the importance of finishing the Rugby Championship on a winning note.
“Every member of squad will have a role to play in ensuring that the players on the field are at their best on match-day, and we have no doubt that if we can build on the strong points of our game last week and improve further on the execution of our game plan, we can get the desired result.
“We know it is going to take a colossal 80-minute effort, but the drive to succeed and motivation to win this weekend is as big as it gets.
“Last week we stuck to our DNA and style of play, and with a little more luck we could have come away with the result, so we need to ensure that we are better at it this week.
“We are ready for this challenge mentally and physically, and we know what we are capable of as a team, so we’ll go out there and give everything we have.”
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 Trevor Nyakane 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Ox Nche.
Bench: 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 Franco Mostert 20 Jasper Wiese 21 Herschel Jantjies 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Frans Steyn.