Rassie Erasmus says he felt the time was right to rotate players such as Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx for Saturday’s clash against the Wallabies.
In an interview with SuperSport, the Bok coach explained some of the reasoning behind his six team changes and one positional switch for the Test in Brisbane.
‘Bongi was our starting hooker in June. We did really well with him in the two Test matches that he played, we actually won, and Malcolm has been playing non-stop since he’s been back from injury, so I think that this is the right time to rotate them.
‘Kitsie [Steven Kitshoff] has been knocking hard on the door, and he has a massive impact when he comes off the bench. [Some] think Beast [Tendai Mtawarira] maybe doesn’t have such a big impact, but I think he [Kitshoff] has knocked hard enough now on the door to deserve a start.
‘Then Pieter-Steph [du Toit] is just playing so well that you have to find a spot for him in the team. The way the two second-rowers have been playing, Franco [Mostert] and Eben [Etzebeth], it’s tough to get one of them out. So I guess Pieter-Steph has been knocking the door down, and hopefully this combination will give us [the] reward that we want.’
‘Just between the centres there are 30-plus Test caps. Playing against an Australian team with [Kurtley] Beale and all of those wonderful strike-runners like [Israel] Folau, with all of these mini-moves they do, I think this centre combination will help us settle on defence.
‘The main thing [with Kolbe] is that he is an out-and-out 15, although he’s only 24, 25 years old. He is a guy who can play there and can cover wing as well. I’ve always felt that he has the potential and ability to be a wonderful Test 15 – like I thought Gio Aplon might’ve been.’
Photo: Gallo Images