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Bok coach opts for rotation

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Joseph Dweba will be making his Springbok debut on Saturday. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

No fewer than 10 out of 12 changes to the Springbok team are to the starting line-up, ahead of the Argentina match on Saturday.

JOHANNESBURG – Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday made 12 changes to his team to face Argentina in their opening Rugby Championship clash in Nelson Mandela Bay over the weekend.

With the inclusion of debutant Joseph Dweba at hooker, it is one of a dozen changes made to the team which beat the British and Irish Lions in their third and final Test in Cape Town last week.

No fewer than 10 of those changes are to the starting line-up, ahead of the Argentina match on Saturday.

Nienaber said: “It is a long season, so it’s important that we manage the players well and rotate our squad to ensure that everyone gets sufficient game time and rest.

“We have a talented squad, and we are excited to see some of the players get a chance to show what they can do against a tough Argentinian outfit.

“Most of the players in this matchday squad have been with us since our conditioning camp in Bloemfontein in June, and they’ve been working hard at training and deserve this opportunity to take the field.

The only players who retained their places in the starting team from the final Test against the British & Irish Lions last weekend were Springbok captain Siya Kolisi (flank), Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager (both locks), Japer Wiese (No.8) and Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf).

The changes to the pack of forwards see Ox Nché – who has recovered from his neck injury – and Wilco Louw (both props) join forces with Dweba in the front row, replacing Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi respectively, while Kwagga Smith replaces Franco Mostert at blindside flank in a loose trio with Kolisi and Wiese.

Elton Jantjies starts at flyhalf in a halfback pairing with Reinach, replacing Handré Pollard, while Frans Steyn and Jesse Kriel will join forces in the midfield in place of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.

The other changes in the backline sees Damian Willemse replace Willie le Roux at fullback, while Sbu Nkosi and Aphelele Fassi – who made his Springbok debut against Georgia last month – will start at wing in place of Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi respectively.

On the replacements bench, Marvin Orie and Dan du Preez have been drafted in to provide cover at lock and loose forward respectively, while the two backline replacements are Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and Morné Steyn (flyhalf).

Springbok team: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jess Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.

Replacements: 16 Malcom Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Dan du Preez, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Morne Steyn.

African News Agency (ANA)

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