Boks set for changes

Willem Alberts is in doubt for the Springboks' season-ending Test against Wales in Cardiff this Saturday, which could open the door for young Jean-Luc du Preez to make his Test debut.

Allister Coetzee has indicated that there are likely to be a number of changes to the team this week as he finally looks to provide some new players with an opportunity to make an impression, while having run out of patience with certain underperforming regulars.

There could be also be an injury-enforced change, with Alberts having had to sit out training on Tuesday due to a neck injury sustained against Italy last Saturday, with the hulking flank appearing to be in some doubt for this weekend's Test. He will be given until Thursday to prove his fitness.

If Alberts is ruled out, a relatively like-for-like replacement could see Oupa Mohoje return to blindside flank, but assistant coach Matt Proudfoot hinted that Du Preez would be a viable consideration at No 7.

'We actually have some great options [if Alberts is unavailable], and Jean-Luc is definitely someone we are looking at in that position,' he commented.

Uzair Cassiem is another loose-forward option for the Boks to consider, but there has also been talk that he could possibly slot in at No 6 if Coetzee perhaps opts to shift Nizaam Carr to No 8 as a replacement for Warren Whiteley, who has carried a heavy workload.

The Bok team will be announced on Thursday, and other changes could come in the front row, at halfback, and among the outside backs.

'I’m looking for enthusiasm and for guys that want to go out there and perform again‚ which is a mental thing‚' Coetzee commented this week. 'The philosophy I had before the Italian match was to build continuity from the England game believing that the continuity would help us get the result.

'Obviously we didn’t get the result and as a consequence I have to give other players an opportunity this week. At least it will give me an idea about whether some young players can perform at this level and how good they can be. There are certain players who have worked hard on tour and deserve a chance.'

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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