Coach Rassie Erasmus says he selected Bongi Mbonambi in the Boks’ starting lineup because the hooker is better suited to the game they want to employ in the quarter-final against Japan.
Mbonambi was named as the starting No 2 ahead of Malcolm Marx, who has had an indifferent World Cup campaign to date.
But Erasmus says his selection of Mbonambi ahead of Marx has more to do with the utilisation of the duo’s key strengths at certain intervals of the match, as opposed to the contrasting form they’ve exhibited at the tournament.
‘They are great hookers, and add Schalk Brits, and we’ve got three world-class hookers. The way we want to play against Japan, especially trying to keep up with the pace that they play at, Bongi is definitely the more physically brutal, scrummaging in-your-face hooker,’ Erasmus explained.
‘I think Malcolm is in the same mould, but he will be better utilised if the game opens up a little bit more in the second half.’
Erasmus also revealed he will give the pair an equal amount of game time against the Japanese, which he believes will be beneficial to the team’s overall challenge.
‘Both of them will probably get 40 minutes. In a tight first half, Bongi will do a job; in the looser second half Malcolm will come on. It will benefit the team by playing them that way.’
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